S167 List of Accessible Taxis: update after 6 months - existing list

The request was successful.

Dear Transport for London,

I am writing this Freedom of Information Request in relation to TfL’s compliance or otherwise with the Government's statutory guidance on implementation of S165-167 of the Equality Act, relating to taxi services for wheelchair users. All taxi licensing bodies are obliged under S167(6) to have "due regard" to the document "Access for wheelchair users to taxis and private hire vehicles: statutory guidance" at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/sy... . The questions I raise below should be interpreted as requests for recorded information under the Freedom of Information Act.

I have previously made a similar request to you in April 2017. 6+ months later, I am requesting extra detail. I am doing so because the Statutory Guidance states "We would expect these arrangements to take no more than a maximum of six months to put in place, following the commencement of these provisions" - "these provisions" having been commenced on 6th April.

1) The statutory guidance states "The Government therefore recommends that a vehicle should only be included in the authority’s (S167) list if it would be possible for the user of a “reference wheelchair” to enter, leave and travel in the passenger compartment in safety and reasonable comfort whilst seated in their wheelchair."
Is this the definition you have used for a taxi or PHV to be considered wheelchair accessible for the purposes of the list?

2) The guidance states: "We recommend that licensing authority rules for drivers are updated to make clear when a meter can and cannot be left running".
Have you updated such rules to make this clear?

3) The guidance states: "Section 172 of the Act enables vehicle owners to appeal against the decision of a LA to include their vehicles on the designated list. That appeal should be made to the Magistrate’s Court, or in Scotland the sheriff, and must be made within 28 days of the vehicle in question being included on the LA’s published list."
Please tell me how many such applications have been made to the Magistrates Court, and how many have been successful.

4) How many drivers has the authority prosecuted for discriminatory behaviour contrary to S165 of the Act? How many such prosecutions were successful? What were the sentences?

5) How many drivers licensed by yourselves have been prosecuted by other people or bodies for failure to comply with S165 of the Act? How many such prosecutions were successful? What were the sentences?

6) Where drivers have been prosecuted under S165 of the Act, thus affecting their standing as a "fit and proper person", what resultant disciplinary action have you taken in respect of their taxi or private hire vehicle drivers' licenses?

7) The Guidance states; "the Act allows LAs to grant exemptions from the duties to individual drivers. These provisions are contained in section 166, and were commenced on 1st October 2010."
How many exemptions have you granted under S166 of the Equality Act 2010?

8) The guidance states: "We understand that some licensing authorities have already put in place procedures for accessing and exempting drivers, and as an absolute minimum, we think that the evidence provided should be in the form of a letter or report from a general practitioner."
Do you accept or require a letter or report from a GP to process applications for driver exemption under S166?

9) The guidance states: "The Government’s view is that decisions on exemptions will be fairer and more objective if medical assessments are undertaken by professionals who have been specifically trained and who are independent of the applicant. We would recommend that independent medical assessors are used where a long-term exemption is to be issued, and that LAs use assessors who hold appropriate professional qualifications and who are not open to bias because of a personal or commercial connection to the applicant"
Have you appointed independent medical assessors to determine applications for medical exemption under S166?

10) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption under S166.

11) The guidance states: "Section 172 of the Act enables drivers to appeal against the decision of a LA not to issue an exemption certificate. That appeal should be made to the Magistrate’s Court, or a sheriff in Scotland, and must be made within 28 days beginning with the date of the refusal."
How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions have been heard?

12) How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions were successful?

13) The guidance states: "We would therefore recommend that LAs also publish a list of vehicles that are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs who are able to transfer from their wheelchair into a seat within the vehicle. It should be made clear however that this list of vehicles has not been published for the purposes of section 165 of the Act and drivers of those vehicles are therefore not subject to the legal duties to provide assistance."
Do you currently publish a list of vehicles that are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs who are able to transfer from their wheelchairs into a seat within the vehicle?

Thank you

Yours faithfully,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Transport for London

Dear Mr Paulley

TfL Ref: 2156-1718

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 6 November 2017. Please accept my apologies for the delay in getting back to you.

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

Your request will be processed by TfL, the Greater London Authority and its subsidiaries to provide you with a response in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and our information access policy.

A response will be sent to you by 4 December 2017. We publish a substantial range of information on our website on subjects including operational performance, contracts, expenditure, journey data, governance and our financial performance. This includes data which is frequently asked for in FOI requests or other public queries. Please check http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/transpar... to see if this helps you.

We will publish anonymised versions of requests and responses on the www.tfl.gov.uk website. We will not publish your name and we will send a copy of the response to you before it is published on our website.

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

Yours sincerely

Jasmine Howard
FOI Case Officer
Information Governance
Transport For London

show quoted sections

Dear FOI,

What has happened to the response to my FOI request please? The 20 working day long-stop has passed.

Thank you

Yours sincerely,

Doug Paulley

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Paulley

TfL Ref: 2156-1718

Thank you for your email received by us on 8 December 2017 concerning your outstanding request. Please accept my sincere apologies for not having contacted you sooner.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and our information access policy.

Because we are in the process of finalising our response, we have not been able to resolve your request within the statutory 20 working day.

We intend to provide you with a full response as soon as possible. Please accept my apologies for this delay.

In the meantime, if you have any queries relating to your request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Jasmine Howard
FOI Case Officer
Information Governance
Transport For London

show quoted sections

FOI, Transport for London

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Paulley

 

TfL Ref: FOI-2156-1718

 

Thank you for your email received on 4 November regarding wheelchair
accessibility in taxi and private hire vehicles. Please accept my
apologies for the delay in responding.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our Information Access Policy. I can
confirm that we hold the information you require. 

                                       

1) The statutory guidance states "The Government therefore recommends that
a vehicle should only be included in the authority’s (S167) list if it
would be possible for the user of a “reference wheelchair” to enter, leave
and travel in the passenger compartment in safety and reasonable comfort
whilst seated in their wheelchair." Is this the definition you have used
for a taxi or PHV to be considered wheelchair accessible for the purposes
of the list?

 

We have followed the Department for Transport’s recommendation and
designated taxi and private hire vehicles under section 167 of the
Equality Act (2010) where they are equipped to carry a passenger using a
‘reference wheelchair’ in the passenger compartment whilst seated in their
wheelchair.

 

2) The guidance states: "We recommend that licensing authority rules for
drivers are updated to make clear when a meter can and cannot be left
running". Have you updated such rules to make this clear?

 

We have informed drivers of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles of
their duties under the Equality Act (2010), including not to make any
additional charges for carrying passengers in a wheelchair. Please see our
website for further information:

 

www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/taxis-and-privat...

 

[1]http://content.tfl.gov.uk/equality-act.pdf

 

In accordance with section 21 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to supply
you with a copy of the requested information as it is already accessible
to you elsewhere.

 

3) The guidance states: "Section 172 of the Act enables vehicle owners to
appeal against the decision of a LA to include their vehicles on the
designated list. That appeal should be made to the Magistrate’s Court, or
in Scotland the sheriff, and must be made within 28 days of the vehicle in
question being included on the LA’s published list." Please tell me how
many such applications have been made to the Magistrates Court, and how
many have been successful.

 

We have not received any appeals.

 

4) How many drivers has the authority prosecuted for discriminatory
behaviour contrary to S165 of the Act? How many such prosecutions were
successful? What were the sentences?

 

5) How many drivers licensed by yourselves have been prosecuted by other
people or bodies for failure to comply with S165 of the Act? How many such
prosecutions were successful? What were the sentences?

 

Since Section 165 of the Equality Act (2010) was enacted, in April 2017,
we have launched 19 investigations. Of these, nine are being actively
investigated, one of which has been referred to our legal team for
prosecution. The remaining ten investigations have been closed due to
insufficient evidence, the complainant not wanting to pursue their
original compliant or the driver having been found not to have committed
an offence.

 

We are not aware of any London licensed driver who has been prosecuted by
a third party for not carrying out their duties under this section of the
Act. 

 

Between February 2015 and May 2017, we have successfully prosecuted 21
private hire drivers for refusing assistance dogs, using Equality Act
(2010) legislation. This has resulted in fines totalling £7,055 plus
costs.

 

6) Where drivers have been prosecuted under S165 of the Act, thus
affecting their standing as a "fit and proper person", what resultant
disciplinary action have you taken in respect of their taxi or private
hire vehicle drivers' licenses?

 

We have not prosecuted any drivers under Section 165 of the Act.
Non-compliant drivers are liable to prosecution and fines of up to £1,000.
We would also review a driver's continued fitness to hold a licence.

 

7) The Guidance states; "the Act allows LAs to grant exemptions from the
duties to individual drivers. These provisions are contained in section
166, and were commenced on 1st October 2010."

 

How many exemptions have you granted under S166 of the Equality Act 2010?

 

Since your previous FOI request received on 19 April 2017, reference:
FOI-0136-1718, we have granted ten driver exemptions under Section 166 of
the Equality Act (2010).

 

8) The guidance states: "We understand that some licensing authorities
have already put in place procedures for accessing and exempting drivers,
and as an absolute minimum, we think that the evidence provided should be
in the form of a letter or report from a general practitioner."

 

Do you accept or require a letter or report from a GP to process
applications for driver exemption under S166?

 

Each applicant for a exemption is required to provide medical evidence to
demonstrate the need for that exemption. I have attached our ‘Assisting
Wheelchair Users – Exemption Application Form’ which contains further
details.

 

9) The guidance states: "The Government’s view is that decisions on
exemptions will be fairer and more objective if medical assessments are
undertaken by professionals who have been specifically trained and who are
independent of the applicant. We would recommend that independent medical
assessors are used where a long-term exemption is to be issued, and that
LAs use assessors who hold appropriate professional qualifications and who
are not open to bias because of a personal or commercial connection to the
applicant"

 

Have you appointed independent medical assessors to determine applications
for medical exemption under S166?

 

Each case is taken on its individual merits. If there is something that
requires further clarity it will be referred to our Occupational Health
team. They may ask the applicant to undergo an individual, independent
driving assessment.

 

10) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption
under S166.

 

Please find a copy of the form attached.

 

11) The guidance states: "Section 172 of the Act enables drivers to appeal
against the decision of a LA not to issue an exemption certificate. That
appeal

should be made to the Magistrate’s Court, or a sheriff in Scotland, and
must be made within 28 days beginning with the date of the refusal." How
many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions have been heard?

 

12) How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions were
successful?

 

We have not received any appeals following a decision not to grant an
exemption under Section 166 of the Equality Act (2010).

 

13) The guidance states: "We would therefore recommend that LAs also
publish a list of vehicles that are accessible to passengers in
wheelchairs who are able to transfer from their wheelchair into a seat
within the vehicle. It should be made clear however that this list of
vehicles has not been published for the purposes of section 165 of the Act
and drivers of those vehicles are therefore not subject to the legal
duties to provide assistance."

 

Do you currently publish a list of vehicles that are accessible to
passengers in wheelchairs who are able to transfer from their wheelchairs
into a seat within the vehicle?

 

We have not published a list of this nature. All of London's taxis are
wheelchair accessible and provide a wide range of other accessibility
features to support passengers with disabilities.

 

Private hire vehicles must be pre-booked in advance with a private hire
operator and passengers can request a suitable vehicle prior to making a
booking.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Jasmine Howard

FOI Case Officer

Information Governance

Transport For London

 

 

 

show quoted sections

FOI, Transport for London

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Paulley

 

TfL Ref: FOI-2156-1718

 

Further to my previous email in response to your Freedom of Information
request, please find attached a copy of the referenced document for
Question 10.

 

Please accept my apologies for this omission.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Jasmine Howard

FOI Case Officer

Information Governance

Transport For London

 

 

From: FOI
Sent: 15 December 2017 13:39
To: '[FOI #442993 email]'
Subject: FOI Request

 

Dear Mr Paulley

 

TfL Ref: FOI-2156-1718

 

Thank you for your email received on 4 November regarding wheelchair
accessibility in taxi and private hire vehicles. Please accept my
apologies for the delay in responding.

 

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of
the Freedom of Information Act and our Information Access Policy. I can
confirm that we hold the information you require.

 

1) The statutory guidance states "The Government therefore recommends that
a vehicle should only be included in the authority’s (S167) list if it
would be possible for the user of a “reference wheelchair” to enter, leave
and travel in the passenger compartment in safety and reasonable comfort
whilst seated in their wheelchair." Is this the definition you have used
for a taxi or PHV to be considered wheelchair accessible for the purposes
of the list?

 

We have followed the Department for Transport’s recommendation and
designated taxi and private hire vehicles under section 167 of the
Equality Act (2010) where they are equipped to carry a passenger using a
‘reference wheelchair’ in the passenger compartment whilst seated in their
wheelchair.

 

2) The guidance states: "We recommend that licensing authority rules for
drivers are updated to make clear when a meter can and cannot be left
running". Have you updated such rules to make this clear?

 

We have informed drivers of designated wheelchair accessible vehicles of
their duties under the Equality Act (2010), including not to make any
additional charges for carrying passengers in a wheelchair. Please see our
website for further information:

 

[1]www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/taxis-and-private-hire/passengers-and-accessibility

 

[2]http://content.tfl.gov.uk/equality-act.pdf

 

In accordance with section 21 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to supply
you with a copy of the requested information as it is already accessible
to you elsewhere.

 

3) The guidance states: "Section 172 of the Act enables vehicle owners to
appeal against the decision of a LA to include their vehicles on the
designated list. That appeal should be made to the Magistrate’s Court, or
in Scotland the sheriff, and must be made within 28 days of the vehicle in
question being included on the LA’s published list." Please tell me how
many such applications have been made to the Magistrates Court, and how
many have been successful.

 

We have not received any appeals.

 

4) How many drivers has the authority prosecuted for discriminatory
behaviour contrary to S165 of the Act? How many such prosecutions were
successful? What were the sentences?

 

5) How many drivers licensed by yourselves have been prosecuted by other
people or bodies for failure to comply with S165 of the Act? How many such
prosecutions were successful? What were the sentences?

 

Since Section 165 of the Equality Act (2010) was enacted, in April 2017,
we have launched 19 investigations. Of these, nine are being actively
investigated, one of which has been referred to our legal team for
prosecution. The remaining ten investigations have been closed due to
insufficient evidence, the complainant not wanting to pursue their
original compliant or the driver having been found not to have committed
an offence.

 

We are not aware of any London licensed driver who has been prosecuted by
a third party for not carrying out their duties under this section of the
Act.

 

Between February 2015 and May 2017, we have successfully prosecuted 21
private hire drivers for refusing assistance dogs, using Equality Act
(2010) legislation. This has resulted in fines totalling £7,055 plus
costs.

 

6) Where drivers have been prosecuted under S165 of the Act, thus
affecting their standing as a "fit and proper person", what resultant
disciplinary action have you taken in respect of their taxi or private
hire vehicle drivers' licenses?

 

We have not prosecuted any drivers under Section 165 of the Act.
Non-compliant drivers are liable to prosecution and fines of up to £1,000.
We would also review a driver's continued fitness to hold a licence.

 

7) The Guidance states; "the Act allows LAs to grant exemptions from the
duties to individual drivers. These provisions are contained in section
166, and were commenced on 1st October 2010."

 

How many exemptions have you granted under S166 of the Equality Act 2010?

 

Since your previous FOI request received on 19 April 2017, reference:
FOI-0136-1718, we have granted ten driver exemptions under Section 166 of
the Equality Act (2010).

 

8) The guidance states: "We understand that some licensing authorities
have already put in place procedures for accessing and exempting drivers,
and as an absolute minimum, we think that the evidence provided should be
in the form of a letter or report from a general practitioner."

 

Do you accept or require a letter or report from a GP to process
applications for driver exemption under S166?

 

Each applicant for a exemption is required to provide medical evidence to
demonstrate the need for that exemption. I have attached our ‘Assisting
Wheelchair Users – Exemption Application Form’ which contains further
details.

 

9) The guidance states: "The Government’s view is that decisions on
exemptions will be fairer and more objective if medical assessments are
undertaken by professionals who have been specifically trained and who are
independent of the applicant. We would recommend that independent medical
assessors are used where a long-term exemption is to be issued, and that
LAs use assessors who hold appropriate professional qualifications and who
are not open to bias because of a personal or commercial connection to the
applicant"

 

Have you appointed independent medical assessors to determine applications
for medical exemption under S166?

 

Each case is taken on its individual merits. If there is something that
requires further clarity it will be referred to our Occupational Health
team. They may ask the applicant to undergo an individual, independent
driving assessment.

 

10) Please provide a copy of your application form for driver exemption
under S166.

 

Please find a copy of the form attached.

 

11) The guidance states: "Section 172 of the Act enables drivers to appeal
against the decision of a LA not to issue an exemption certificate. That
appeal

should be made to the Magistrate’s Court, or a sheriff in Scotland, and
must be made within 28 days beginning with the date of the refusal." How
many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions have been heard?

 

12) How many appeals against refusal to issue S166 exemptions were
successful?

 

We have not received any appeals following a decision not to grant an
exemption under Section 166 of the Equality Act (2010).

 

13) The guidance states: "We would therefore recommend that LAs also
publish a list of vehicles that are accessible to passengers in
wheelchairs who are able to transfer from their wheelchair into a seat
within the vehicle. It should be made clear however that this list of
vehicles has not been published for the purposes of section 165 of the Act
and drivers of those vehicles are therefore not subject to the legal
duties to provide assistance."

 

Do you currently publish a list of vehicles that are accessible to
passengers in wheelchairs who are able to transfer from their wheelchairs
into a seat within the vehicle?

 

We have not published a list of this nature. All of London's taxis are
wheelchair accessible and provide a wide range of other accessibility
features to support passengers with disabilities.

 

Private hire vehicles must be pre-booked in advance with a private hire
operator and passengers can request a suitable vehicle prior to making a
booking.

 

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to
appeal as well as information on copyright and what to do if you would
like to re-use any of the information we have disclosed.

 

If this is not the information you are looking for, or if you are unable
to access it for some reason, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Jasmine Howard

FOI Case Officer

Information Governance

Transport For London

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org