Availability of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis/PHVs

Dick Fowler made this Freedom of Information request to Thanet District Council

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

Response to this request is long overdue. By law, under all circumstances, Thanet District Council should have responded by now (details). You can complain by requesting an internal review.

Dear Thanet District Council,
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE TAXIS/PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLES (“WAVs”)-AVAILABILITY
This study is concerned with actual rather than notional availability of wheelchair accessible taxis and PHVs (“WAVs”). Individuals and some organisations can have great difficulty obtaining WAVs when and where required. As a generality, in rural/semi-rural areas or at schooltimes, on some evenings and on Sundays. This seeks to begin to clarify why this occurs and what does and does not work to improve the situation.
1. TAXI STATISTICS : How many a)wheelchair accessible taxis; b) other taxis c) wheelchair accessible phvs d) other phvs do you have licensed? This is to update the 2015 DfT statistics, the 2017 update is due shortly.
2. TAXI POLICY & PUBLIC SECTOR EQUALITY DUTY : FACTORS AFFECTING AVAILABILITY:
Typical factors affecting availability in a given licensing area are:
a) whether individual licensing authorities require a fully or substantially WAV fleet;
b) LA (eg SEN, schools, social care) and NHS (eg goods, staff ,NEPTS etc ) contracts;
c) not making all WAV operators booking/ contact details publically available;
d) operators refusal of prebookings;
e) operators refusal to carry wheelchairs;
f) drivers medical exemptions (wheelchair and assistance dog);
g) significantly more people relative to resident population eg commuters, tourists, passengers in transit;
h) private contracts, driver rest, vehicle repair and maintenance etc;
Please say if and how your taxi policy takes into account each of a)-h) above, or anything else relevant to try to ensure that sufficient WAVs are available to meet demand .*
3. CONTACT INFORMATION:*
To enable further research into accuracy, reliability, consistency and completeness of public and commercial information please provide a list/ spreadsheet/link etc showing the business contact details for all WAV operators with which your authority has dealings (eg as a Licensing Authority or contracting party including for Unitary Authorities, SEN, social services etc. In two-tier authorities please also state the contracting authority).
4. RAIL INDUSTRY : *
To obtain approval by the rail regulator, of their Disabled Persons Protection Policies (“DPPPs”) in order to meet the requirements of their operating licences, station and Train Operating Companies (“TOCs”) should know about WAV availability both for their own needs (rail disruption etc) and to inform passengers.
What arrangements if any have you made to inform them or to ensure that licensed WAV operators do so?
5. INFORMATION FOR TOURISTS , AIR/SEA/RAIL etc PASSENGERS IN TRANSIT ;*
Does your authorities information (including websites & social media) clearly tell the public:
a) the contact details for all WAVs licensed by your authority? If not, why not?; b)if and when WAVS are likely to be hard to obtain?;
c) that TAXI/PHV operators may charge extra etc to carry wheelchairs? (ie unless and until s167 is formally commenced).
6. COMPETITION.
Large authorities responsible for schools/SEN Transport can typically spend around £10m-£11m annually on taxis, including many WAVs .
Have you carried out or collaborated with any value for money studies on this? With what outcome?

Having discussed this matter with the ICO I wish to draw the following to your attention:
1. RE-USE OF INFORMATION PREVIOUSLY SUPPLIED
To minimise duplication I intend to re-use information on wheelchair accessible taxis/PHVs recently provided by your authority to Mr Doug Paulley in response to his Freedom of Information Request. This is for possible use by anyone interested in any way in disability and transport , including government, and is NOT for commercial gain.
2. *If providing the information in exactly the form requested is onerous, but is available in another easier to provide form (eg in a report or printed document) please say so as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Dick Fowler

TDC FOI, Thanet District Council

Thank you for your request for official information and/or personal data.
This request is currently being reviewed under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004
and/or the subject access provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

We will provide a substantive response within any timely statutory
deadline.

 

In some circumstances a fee may be payable; if this is the case we will
let you know before proceeding to comply with your request.

  

Kind regards,

 

 

 

Information Governance Officer

Thanet District Council

Margate

CT9 1XZ

01843 577620

 

Dear TDC FOI,
your reply is overdue.please advise.

Yours sincerely,

Dick Fowler

TDC FOI, Thanet District Council

Thank you for your request for official information and/or personal data.
This request is currently being reviewed under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004
and/or the subject access provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

We will provide a substantive response within any timely statutory
deadline.

 

In some circumstances a fee may be payable; if this is the case we will
let you know before proceeding to comply with your request.

  

Kind regards,

 

 

 

Information Governance Officer

Thanet District Council

Margate

CT9 1XZ

01843 577620

 

Calum Liddle, Thanet District Council

Dear Mr Fowler,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information request dated 20 August 2017.

TDC is now in a position to respond.

For the purposes of section 1(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, no information is held.

Thanet District Council has not produced a list of wheelchair accessible vehicles, however, we do intend to produce a list of both private hire and taxi vehicles which are wheelchair accessible in the near future, by November 2017.

Again, that which has been sought in this instance is not held.

I'm sorry that this response is likely not the outcome you might otherwise have hoped for.

If you are unhappy with the way your enquiry has been dealt with, you may ask for an internal review by submitting a request within one month of the date of this response. Your request should be addressed to the Information Governance Manager, Thanet District Council, PO Box 9, Cecil Street, Margate, CT9 1XZ or by emailing [email address] You may in this instance reply directly, of course.

If you are still dissatisfied after an internal review, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner: Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow SK9 5AF.

Best,

Calum Liddle
Information Governance and Equality Manager
(Data Protection Officer and Deputy Senior Information Risk Officer)
Thanet District Council

Tel: 01843 577 631
Fax: 01843 290 906
Email: [email address]

Dear Thanet District Council,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Thanet District Council's handling of my FOI request 'Availability of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis/PHVs'.

THANET DISTRICT COUNCIL no reference.

Please clarify your replies to my Q2, Q3 and 5c. I have no doubt that TDC hold at least some of the information otherwise TDC could neither provide DfT with statistics nor issue licenses without it. This is about WAV availability, of which s167 of the Equality Act 2010 is just part. Other LAs currently producing designated lists of WAVs asked me to wait while they did so.

I note that there is some overlap between my FOI request concerning WAV availability and Doug Paulleys new request on s167 uptake:
Q5c. In your response to me TDC said “ ……we do intend to produce a list of both private hire and taxi vehicles which are wheelchair accessible in the near future , by November 2017. “ Furthermore the LATEST UPDATES (11 October 2017) on the TDC website set out ‘ Changes to the Law regarding Wheelchair Users’ . Please say if TDC have produced a designated WAV list and commenced s167 of the Equality Act 2010.

Q1 2017 Statistics. The figures which you supplied and DfT published were 13 (out of 108) WAV taxis and 44 (out of 421) WAV PHVs, with 39 PHV operators and 613 drivers.

Q2. This is about factors other than just numbers affecting WAV availability which you may or may not have considered in your taxi/phv policy or as part of your Public Sector Equality Duties (PSED). 2a)-h) were a series of prompts. For example, commencing s167; medical exemptions; publicising taxi/phv lists with booking phone numbers, and allowing for WAVs occupied at key times on SEN/schools and social services contracts can be important factors. Separately I am asking Kent County Council for a list of their WAV contracts for comparison.
Please state clearly whether you have done anything to improve or worsen WAV taxi /PHV availability. If so, what?

Q3. Contact Information . This is about WAV Taxi/PHV business contact information which you hold. Whether this business contact information is made public is addressed separately at question 5a. A key part of my study is to compare contact information from LAs, which should be reliable and up to date, with commercial sources which often are not, with many defunct or wrong entries .
Most LAs taxi/PHV application forms clearly request contact information and any business names.
I discussed this with the Information Commissioners Office . What is required please is to state whether the information regarding the WAVs is held or not, then either supply the information and/or state whether you are refusing to supply a) some of it or b) all of it , and on what specific exemptions you are relying.

Some LAs withhold contact information citing the Data Protection Act , or more specifically, s40 DPA , the personal data exemption. However, the basis for this is somewhat confused. Some LAs appear to be withholding information where the data subject is not a named individual but an employee of a business, or is working under a business name. For example, several WAVs licensed by the same person is generally an indicator that the vehicles would be identified by a business name (eg Thanet Taxis) , not the personal name. A personal name could be omitted or redacted. Please also bear in mind that most taxi and phv operators openly publicise contact details variously on vehicles, on business cards, on commercial lists or websites and on social media.

Q5a/Q5c. Do you have a public taxi/phv register or a s167 designated WAV list on your website etc? Does it show phone numbers (and possibly social media contact)?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

Dick Fowler

TDC FOI, Thanet District Council

Thank you for your request for official information and/or personal data.
This request is currently being reviewed under the terms of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000, the Environmental Information Regulations 2004
and/or the subject access provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998.

 

We will provide a substantive response within any timely statutory
deadline.

 

In some circumstances a fee may be payable; if this is the case we will
let you know before proceeding to comply with your request.

  

Kind regards,

 

 

 

Information Governance Officer

Thanet District Council

Margate

CT9 1XZ

01843 577620

 

TDC FOISupport, Thanet District Council

Dear Mr Fowler,

Thank you for your communication of 6 November 2017 requesting an internal review of the response you were provided for the above Freedom of Information request.

This has been passed to an Officer for review and they will reply directly in due course.

If you have any queries about this internal review please direct them to [email address] quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely

Information Governance and Equality Team

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Dick Fowler left an annotation ()

TDC have acknowledged my request for internal review.

Dear TDC FOISupport,
Thank you for acknowledging my request for internal review.

With reference to you answering my Q2 etc it may assist to kinow that I have now had a list of schools SEN etc WAV contracts from Kent CC. This indicates that KCC have approx 36 contracts with taxi/phv /minibus providers in Thanet namely Airport Connections (Cheesemans) ; Goldline Travel; United Cars; M&D Transport; Palm Bay Travel. KCCs list shows full contact details incl phone numbers.
This will presumably have an effect on WAV availability at key times. Thanet Community Transport Assn have 8 more of these contracts and may be caught up in the currect 's19 ' difficulties.
The FOI request with KCCs list is at :
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours sincerely,

Dick Fowler