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West Suffolk Council consulting on proposals to remove Wheelchair Accessible requirements for taxis

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

Image credit : West Suffolk Council

West Suffolk Council has begun a public consultation on new proposals for the West Suffolk Council Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Conditions Policy Handbook.

The council has said they have carried out an in-depth study of taxi provision (hackney carriage vehicles (HCVs)) in West Suffolk, focusing on the following areas:

  • wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) provision

  • the impact of merging taxi zones (currently we have two zones, Zone A covering the former Forest Heath area and Zone B covering the former St Edmundsbury area)

  • the age of the taxi fleet.

Consideration was also given to future requirements of an environmentally friendly taxi fleet and the impact of COVID-19.

The council has used feedback from surveys of taxi drivers, operators, wheelchair users, other disabled people and people who have mobility issues but would not identify themselves as being disabled, carried out by an independent consultant.

They have looked at these alongside a range of data and evidence, as well as reviewing practices from other authorities to help inform their future policy.

Having considered all of this evidence, the council has decided to consult over a package of proposals before Cabinet decides on whether to adopt these into their policy.

Image credit : West Suffolk Council

The package of proposals that they are consulting on is:

  • to remove all wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) requirements for taxi (HCV) licensees

  • to merge the two taxi zones into one single zone

  • to increase the maximum age of vehicle limit to 15 years old.

The council say their suggested approach “helps to balance out existing WAV provision across the district to meet customer needs”.

This means that they can allow time for the taxi service to recover from COVID-19 and fully consider how they integrate more environmentally friendly vehicles into their hackney carriage fleet, while ensuring that the fleet continues to be accessible both now and into the future. This is all part of their long-term vision for their taxi fleet to be:

  • a safe fleet

  • an accessible fleet

  • a green fleet

  • a thriving fleet.


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