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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 7:58 pm 
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Wheelchair users cannot get taxis ‘for love nor money’ in Blackpool town centre

A lack of accessible public transport is causing havoc for wheelchair users holidaying in Blackpool.

Just 115 out of the 634 taxis operating in the resort are wheelchair-friendly, with some of these operating on contracts taking children to and from local schools, meaning they cannot be used by the general public at busy times in the mornings and afternoons.

Some Blackpool taxi companies do not offer any wheelchair-friendly vehicles, such as Premier Taxis, which only accepts foldable wheelchairs.

Ben Atkinson, owner of the Bond Hotel, which caters specifically for disabled guests, said: “We are having real trouble getting taxis for disabled people. We just can’t get them for love nor money. Either they are not taking bookings, or waiting times are over an hour, and these are at normal times of the day.

"It’s so embarrassing when our customers come to us and we can’t get them travel.”

Blackpool Council said the town faces a general lack of taxi drivers due to the impact of Covid-19.

However, Bill Lewtas, of the Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association, said: “Blackpool has more wheelchair accessible taxis than any other town on the Fylde Coast, and probably in Lancashire as a whole.

“The black cabs and Mercedes Vitos in Blackpool conduct hundreds of wheelchair jobs on a monthly basis. There is not a day goes by without wheelchairs being loaded into Taxis at the North train station, care homes, hospital and delivered to their final destination."

Ben added: “In fairness to Blackpool, it’s one of the most accessible towns around. Whenever I visit our attractions I can’t help but look at disabled facilities, and I see it’s more accessible than many other seaside towns in the country. But we just can’t get taxis to take people to them.

“Guests find themselves struggling to get to the train station, not being able to get a taxi, so they end up on the tram. Once the tramway extends to the train station, that will help things a bit – but they should be able to get a taxi like anyone else.

“They have no chance of getting a taxi to see a show at night.

“My opinion is that it needs sorting out. Just because they’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be able to get a taxi like the rest of us can.”

A Blackpool Council spokesman said the authority is currently looking at ways to improve accessible public transport, as its plan to introduce electric vehicles has so far overlooked potential disabled customers.

They said: “Blackpool Council have recently highlighted a lack of taxi drivers in general following Covid-19 and have done some work over the last few months around this to encourage recruitment in this area, which has had some positive impact.

“In terms of disability accessible vehicles specifically, the council are looking at ways to encourage more accessibility vehicles into the trade through current policy review. One of the longer term strategies is around moving the fleet towards electric vehicles, but there seems to be a lack of accessibility options in electric vehicles and they are very expensive. The council are planning its next demand survey for the taxi fleet and do incorporate accessibility demand into that survey, which will do done again.”

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 7:58 pm 
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However, Bill Lewtas, of the Blackpool Licensed Taxi Operators Association, said: “Blackpool has more wheelchair accessible taxis than any other town on the Fylde Coast, and probably in Lancashire as a whole.

Being very careful with his words there methinks. [-X

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 8:01 pm 
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Can't get one "for love nor money"? I bet he hasn't tried "love" :D

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 9:29 pm 
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Well, the more councils that insist on electric WAV’S the less there are going to be.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 3:03 am 
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One problem here is that that the article looks like it's using the t-word in its generic sense, thus including both HCs and PHVs.

And doesn't Blackpool have a mixed WAV and saloon HC fleet, further blurring the issue?

But when the TOA rep is speaking about WAV 'taxi' availability, he's no doubt just referring specifically to HCs, and alluding to the WAV/saloon distinction :?


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 3:04 am 
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X-ray wrote:
Well, the more councils that insist on electric WAV’S the less there are going to be

Yes, and Blackpool either mandates them, in which case many WAV HCs would disappear, or they just wait till the market adjusts, in which case electric WAVs will arrive in Blackpool about 2040 :D

But that no doubt explains why the council being cautious about it:

Blackpool Council wrote:
One of the longer term strategies is around moving the fleet towards electric vehicles, but there seems to be a lack of accessibility options in electric vehicles and they are very expensive.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 7:11 am 
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Premier Taxis are a PH firm based in Lytham St Annes as far as I know they run a couple of Hackneys to justify using the T word in their name but otherwise run saloon cars and concentrate on Airport work etc. so a poor choice of firm to ask to comment

Wheelchair work is down to the hackney fleet some of whom would possibly be available at the ranks but it's the age old problem there is no incentive for drivers to take on wheelchair work as it takes longer to do for the same money

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 1:58 pm 
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edders23 wrote:
Premier Taxis are a PH firm based in Lytham St Annes as far as I know they run a couple of Hackneys to justify using the T word in their name but otherwise run saloon cars and concentrate on Airport work etc. so a poor choice of firm to ask to comment

Wheelchair work is down to the hackney fleet some of whom would possibly be available at the ranks but it's the age old problem there is no incentive for drivers to take on wheelchair work as it takes longer to do for the same money


Premier is a Blackpool based firm (20ish years), that bought a Fylde based firm a good few years ago. Both firms did run sort of independently till a couple of years ago where now the few remaining Fylde plated cars seem to be in Blackpool and Fylde work covered by the nearest car (Blackpool or Fylde). All cars are electric or hybrid. They made the news last year due to them starting to use Wolverhampton licences.

There are basically only 3 firms in Blackpool.
C Cabs have mixed fleet hackneys (bombers and mini buses) and PHV's, still advertising locally trying to get night drivers.
Premier a few saloon hackneys all the rest PHV, quite a few Nissan e-NV200 to carry 6 passengers?
Blacktax a few hackneys the rest PHV, not as big as C Cabs and Premier.

So only C Cabs and independent bombers can carry anything other than foldable wheel chairs

The problem is wheelchair covers such a wide range of sizes. from the very basic 4 caster that requires somebody to push you to the more common larger self propelled with larger wheels. These types probably cover 95% of wheel chair users, that would have no problem using any of the 3 firms in Blackpool.

Then you have the wheel chairs at the other end of the scale that would need specialist vehicles to handle some of the fully electric wheelchairs that weigh hundreds of lbs.

As the Bond specializes in disability holidays, why not invest the money on a PHV licence and a couple of adapted vehicles.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2022 9:50 pm 
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x-ray wrote:
Well, the more councils that insist on electric WAV’S the less there are going to be.

That is the correct answer.

However, I'm not convinced any major city council will be brave enough de WAV.

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