Accessibility of taxis and private hire vehicles licensed

Mary Carr made this Freedom of Information request to Public Carriage Office

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear Public Carriage Office,

How many current hackney carriage (taxi) licensees have you issued
(over the last full year)?
How many current Private Hire vehicle licences have you issued
(over the last full year)?
What are your accessibility requirements for hackney carriage
vehicles?
Do you require hackney carriage licencesees to undergo training in
disabilty awareness and if so what does this involve?
Do you require private hire vehicle licensees to undergo training
in disability awareness and if so what does this involve?
Do you inspect the taxis and wheelchair accessible vehicles for
accessibility
Do you carry out spot checks for safety including ensuring that
wheelchair users are positioned so that they can use the seat
belts
do you check that taxis have a useable step available to assist
access
do you use 'mystery disabled customers' to test the service to
disabled people. If so what were the results.
How many complaints have you had about service from disabled
passengers about taxis (over the last full year)? What percentage
is that of overall
complaints?
How many complaints have you had about service from disabled
passengers about private hire vehicles (over the last full year?
What percentage is that of
overall complaints?
How have you resolved the complaints from disabled passengers?
Do taxis capable of carrying wheelchairs get preferential access
eg
bus lanes and pedestrian areas?
How many of your drivers are exempt from carrying wheelchair users
on health grounds? Are these drivers refused preferential access?

Yours faithfully,

Mary Carr

FOI, Public Carriage Office

 

 

Dear Ms Carr

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0044-1314

 

Thank you for your email received by Transport for London (TfL) on 8 April
2013 asking for information about accessibility of Taxi and Private Hire
vehicles.

 

Your request will be processed in accordance with the requirements of the
Freedom of Information Act and TfL’s information access policy. 

 

A response will be provided to you by 6 May.

 

In the meantime, if you would like to discuss this matter further, please
do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

 

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FOI, Public Carriage Office

4 Attachments

 

 

Dear Ms Carr,

 

TfL Ref: FOI-0044-1314

 

Thank you for your e-mail received by us on 5 April asking for information
about taxi and private hire.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can
confirm we hold some of the information you require. For ease of
reference, I will address each question as outlined in your request:

 

1)    How many current hackney carriage (taxi) licensees have you issued
(over the last full year)?

 

From 22 April 2012 to the date of your request, we have issued 19,550 taxi
vehicle licences: 18,595 renewed licences and 955 new licences.

 

2)    How many current Private Hire vehicle licences have you issued (over
the last full year)?

 

From 22 April 2012 to the date of your request, we have issued 45,253
private hire vehicle licences: 32,531 renewed licences and 12,722 new
private hire vehicle licences.

 

3)    What are your accessibility requirements for hackney carriage
vehicles?

 

All licensed London taxis are wheelchair accessible and designed, as a
minimum,  to carry a ‘reference’ wheelchair as recommended by the
Department for Transport. We also specify standards for a range of
accessibility features/equipment which must be included in every taxi in
London and these criteria are laid out in the Conditions of Fitness
document, attached with this response.

 

4)    Do you require hackney carriage licensees to undergo training in
disability awareness and if so what does this involve?

 

Prior to being licensed, London taxi drivers are required to pass the
Driving Standards Agency wheelchair assessment which proves they are able
to load and secure a wheelchair in a licensed taxi. It also assesses their
awareness of the other features in a taxi that assist disabled people.
Drivers are also provided with a handbook which provides more information
and guidance on disability awareness and etiquette.

 

5)    Do you require private hire vehicle licensees to undergo training in
disability awareness and if so what does this involve?

 

Private hire drivers are not required to undergo any disability awareness
training.

 

6)    Do you inspect the taxis and wheelchair accessible vehicles for
accessibility?

 

Taxi vehicles including all associated accessibility equipments are
inspected every year as part of the licensing process. Wheelchair
accessible private hire vehicles and equipment is also inspected every
year as part of the licensing process. In addition, our compliance team
undertakes regular vehicle inspections for vehicles on street.

 

7)    Do you carry out spot checks for safety including ensuring that
wheelchair users are positioned so that they can use the seat belts? Do
you check that taxis have a useable step available to assist access? Do
you use 'mystery disabled customers' to test the service to disabled
people. If so what were the results.

 

Taxi and private hire ‘Mystery Traveller Surveys’ by disabled passengers
are conducted regularly.  As above, our compliance team carry out
inspections of taxis at major transport interchanges and on-street
inspections throughout the year to ensure taxis carry the obligatory
accessibility equipment and the equipment is in good working order. These
inspections would also include guidance and advice to drivers and
passengers regarding the correct position in which to carry wheelchair
using passengers so that they can be carried securely and in comfort. All
of the above inspections ensure that any external step is available and in
good working order. Please see the below summary for the result of last
year’s survey. [1]cid:image002.png@01CE47F1.C38225E0

 

8)    How many complaints have you had about service from disabled
passengers about taxis (over the last full year)? What percentage is that
of overall complaints?

9)    How many complaints have you had about service from disabled
passengers about private hire vehicles (over the last full year)?

10)  What percentage is that of overall complaints?

11)  How have you resolved the complaints from disabled passengers?

 

When we receive a complaint about the service provided by a taxi or
private hire vehicle driver we do not record whether the complainant is
disabled and therefore we do not hold the information you have requested.
Under the Equality Act 2010, the only offence considered as an allegation
of disability discrimination is refusal by the driver to carry a guide
dog. During the last calendar year, we have received three such
complaints, which is  0.001 per cent of all complaints received.

 

12)  Do taxis capable of carrying wheelchairs get preferential access
e.g. bus lanes and pedestrian areas?

 

All taxis are entitled to use the vast majority of bus lanes in London and
are entitled to stop to pick-up and set-down passengers on the majority of
the Transport for London Road Network (the ‘red routes’). They are also
entitled to use other roads where access for private vehicles is
prohibited e.g. Oxford Street. In addition, all taxis have access to
National Rail stations and other major transport hubs and usually have
waiting and pick up areas (taxi ranks) where passengers can access these
services.

 

13)  How many of your drivers are exempt from carrying wheelchair users
on health grounds? Are these drivers refused preferential access?

 

Of a total of 25,565 licensed taxi drivers, 32 are exempted from assisting
wheelchair passengers on health grounds. As access is based on the vehicle
being driven rather than the driver, these drivers are not restricted in
where they can drive.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for please feel free to
contact me. Please see the attached information sheet for details of your
right to appeal.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lee Hill

FOI Case Officer

 

FOI Case Management Team

General Counsel

Transport for London

 

 

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