Walsall Council and West Midlands Police have been out undercover checking if taxi and private hire drivers are safely carrying passengers who use a wheelchair.
The tests were carried out by community protection officers along with a police officer who uses a wheelchair.
The covert operation saw the officers take five different trips throughout the day, with two of the five revealing problems with the fundamental rules of carrying wheelchair passengers.
As reported by the Express and Star, one firm sent the wrong type of vehicle to a pick up, and another driver failed to secure both the wheelchair and passenger. The same driver also failed to set the taxi meter and then overcharged for the journey.
Lorraine Boothman, regulatory services manager said: “Public safety is a priority in our licensing role and this is why we carry out enforcement operations such as this. People with disabilities often rely on the taxi and private hire trades and we need to ensure that they can use them with confidence.
“I am really pleased to see a significant improvement in standards from the last time we carried out such an operation. It was reported that one of the drivers had provided an excellent service, securing both the passenger and chair well, being both courteous and considerate.”
The law surrounding taxi and private hire wheelchair fares states that drivers cannot refuse to take a passenger in a wheelchair and must follow clear safety procedures to ensure that passenger's safety. Drivers are also not allowed to charge extra for a wheelchair passenger and must not switch on the meter until the passenger is secured and they are ready to start the journey.
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