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TRAVEL COSTS RISE: Black cabs need exemption from LTNs says frustrated resident

Image credit: Brian Leveson

The father of a paraplegic child has called for access exemptions to be handed to London’s wheelchair accessible taxis, as Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes pushes the cost of travel higher.

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, otherwise known as LTNs, have sparked debate and controversy since their inclusion at the start of the pandemic. LTNs are said to make streets easier to walk and cycle on by stopping motor vehicles from using quiet roads as shortcuts. However, the closed roads have increased journey times and the cost of travel for some sections of the community.

Brian Leveson, a resident in the capital’s Tottenham area, said: “When you have a paraplegic child with complex health needs who required 24/7 care it is impossible to get about London to get to essential hospital appointments if you do no use a black cab.

“Because of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) we have found our journey's are now costing at least £10 more to school or Great Ormond Street Hospital for sick children (GOSH).”

Leveson added: “As things stand, we do not live in a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN), but we are about to be surrounded by 2 of them St Ann's and Bruce Grove.

“However, our son's school is slap bang in the middle of one, and we have found that our journeys to school or GOSH have almost doubled in price as cabbies now literally have to go round the houses to get us there.

“As frequent users of GOSH inpatients and outpatients services (we must go once a month), we can tell you there is NO PARKING on Great Ormond Street and using public transport is not feasible in a pandemic or not in a pandemic. Deep underground tube use would be a death sentence for us if we had a medical emergency or there was a a prolonged delay, but also our local tube station and the nearest tube station to GOSH are not step free.”

The frustrated father and blogger has now called for LTN’s exemptions to be handed to all wheelchair accessible black cabs.

Leveson said: “It seems obvious to us, but for people with complex disabilities and their carer the fleet 21,000 wheelchair accessible (WAVs) London black cabs are essential for us to be able to safely access essential services such as hospital appointments.

“Our child needs 24/7 care and it would be irresponsible as well as incredibly stressful for us to even attempt to drive ourselves to appointments while caring for such a complex and medically unstable person at the same time.”

The frustrated father went on to explain the difficulties faced in getting an electric WAV on the Motability scheme.

The Motability Scheme enables anyone in receipt of a higher rate mobility allowance (such as the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment or the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance) to use their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle.

However search results show that electric WAVs are currently unavailable on the scheme.

Leveson said: “Black cabs are seemingly the only feasible solution to getting to and from essential appointments - but the cost keeps going up, thanks to LTNs.”


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