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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:52 pm 
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Lack of disabled taxis in Angus will prompt motion to seek government funding to reverse ‘appalling’ situation

https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/lo ... situation/

Ministers will be asked to unlock funds to reverse the “appalling” lack of accessible taxis in Angus.

The number of wheelchair accessible vehicles in the region has dropped to just seven.

An Angus councillor wants local authority officials to ask the UK and Scottish governments for funds to help taxi drivers buy adapted cars.

People with accessibility needs in Angus are facing a “postcode lottery” as there are no accessible vehicles in Monifieth and Sidlaw and only one serving Montrose and Brechin and a single car for all of Arbroath and Carnoustie.

There are five in Forfar and Kirriemuir.

Arbroath East and Lunan Independent councillor Lois Speed will ask the local authority’s chief executive to write to the Scottish and UK governments to help change disabled people’s lives for the better.

She will bring a motion to full council to request Margo Williamson highlight to ministers the inequalities faced by many Angus residents and seek additional funding “to ensure that taxi operators are financially supported or incentivised to purchase accessible vehicles that will enable a fully inclusive service for all”.

Ms Speed spoke to councillors at Thursday’s meeting of the civic licensing committee in Forfar.

She said she understands the financial challenges that taxi operators face but said things must change.

“Lack of accessible vehicles is an unmet need in Angus and I believe it would be totally unacceptable not to robustly address this,” she said.

“It’s extremely concerning that Angus has gone from 13 to seven accessible vehicles covering the whole of Angus in the last year.

“We must recognise that these number will be even lower at times as not all vehicles will be on the road or available at the same time

“It’s alarming that there is only one accessible vehicle covering several localities and this at times may be reduced to zero and for fairly lengthy periods when this vehicle is engaged.”

She said barriers to travel and transport often results in loneliness and social isolation for disabled people which in turn “impacts on health and wellbeing outcomes and same life chances and opportunities as others”.

The civic licensing committee has now agreed to investigate the extent of the unmet need for wheelchair vehicles and to recommend measures to address it and the likely costs involved.

Ms Speed added: “I continue to receive regular correspondence from individuals and groups, including care homes, who report the detrimental impact and issues that they are experiencing by not being able to take part in everyday activities, essential health and social care appointments, education, employment and sport or leisure opportunities, as well as unplanned events including seeking medical attention.”

There was widespread support for Ms Speed’s plan to take the matter to full council.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 1:54 pm 
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“It’s extremely concerning that Angus has gone from 13 to seven accessible vehicles covering the whole of Angus in the last year."

Quite a drop over one year.

And makes a change to see them talk about funding rather than ordering new plates (say) to run WAVs, but possibly just wishful thinking as far as extra cash is concerned :?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:45 pm 
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Make the operators (firms not proprietors) have 10-20% of their fleet wheelchair accessible.

Works well down here.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:06 pm 
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Sussex wrote:
Make the operators (firms not proprietors) have 10-20% of their fleet wheelchair accessible.

Works well down here.


Well it would have to be more than 10%, because I suspect the vast majority of firms in Angus have less than 10 cars, so 10% each would be less than one WAV :badgrin:

In fact if someone said that there are *zero* firms in Angus with more than 10 cars then I wouldn't be surprised, but I'd guess 10-20 cars would be as big as they get.

But all these very small firms perhaps demonstrate why mandating a quota per firm wouldn't be as easy as it would be with big city firms of hundreds of cars :-k


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:18 pm 
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don't suppose it has occurred to them that the reason for the drop might be the difficulty of finding work for them

My experience was that the majority of punters disliked them and that wheelchair work tends to only be sporadic as most wheelchair users either have their own or use volunteer vehicles which are cheaper

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:50 pm 
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edders23 wrote:
don't suppose it has occurred to them that the reason for the drop might be the difficulty of finding work for them

My experience was that the majority of punters disliked them and that wheelchair work tends to only be sporadic as most wheelchair users either have their own or use volunteer vehicles which are cheaper

Clearly there isn't bundles of WAV work, but I think a council has a duty, albeit a moral not legal duty, to ensure there is sufficient WAVs available should someone need one.

I also think the trade has a similar duty, but that's easier said than implemented. Maybe councils that don't license the cheaper WAVs should, and maybe councils that restrict HCs and license saloons shouldn't, and maybe all councils that allow saloon HCs should offer WAV HCs reduced fees.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 10:58 pm 
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From my admittedly limited experience I'd say WAV work is more big city stuff rather than in the small towns of Angus.

When I worked in Dundee there were effectively zero WAVs, but still quite a few wheelchair users, particularly daytime in the city centre. Probably had a wheelchair in the boot every couple of weeks or so.

In the much smaller town I work in now I can barely recall the last time I had a chair in the boot - only one I can remember was quite a few years ago, and that was out at the station. I remember thinking then that that was the first one I'd had for years, and can't really recall seeing many other saloons getting jobs.

There are a smattering of WAVs around, but always pre-booked as far as I know, but it's also years since I've seen a WAV loading up anywhere, except once or twice at the station.

Funny thing, though, I was thinking about saying this last night, and lo and behold, a few hours later and a girl arrived at our night rank in a wheelchair, at 1.30am. Had obviously been on a night out with some friends, and one of the guys just lifted her into the cab, and the chair went into the boot, so not the most difficult wheelchair job.

But all that's not to say that there aren't any people in wheelchairs locally who use cabs, but seems to be almost wholly pre-booked rather than public hire.

Which in turn is possibly why there isn't the same impetus for WAV HCs in smaller towns/more rural areas that there is in the big cities. And, of course, there will always be people who want a WAV but can't get one, even in more rural areas, as this article demonstrates.

But none of the Angus towns will be much bigger than the one I work in, and most are a bit smaller, so I suspect demand for WAVs at the ranks is pretty much non-existent.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 8:21 pm 
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Disabled people ‘left trapped in their homes’ due to lack of accessible taxis in Angus

https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/lo ... -in-angus/

Disabled people have told how they are being left trapped in their homes due to a lack of accessible taxis in Angus.

The number of wheelchair accessible vehicles in the region has dropped to just seven and ministers will be asked to unlock funds to reverse the situation.

Mary Cathro, 69, and Isabel Meikle, 56, both from Arbroath, said they often have to wait “several days” to get out of the house as a result of the “postcode lottery”.

There are no accessible vehicles in Monifieth and Sidlaw and only one serving Montrose and Brechin and a single car for all of Arbroath and Carnoustie.

There are five in Forfar and Kirriemuir.

“A greater fleet of accessible taxis is needed in Angus so that wheelchair users like myself are able to get a taxi 24/7 just like everybody else who relies on this type of service,” said Mrs Cathro.

“The sole operator is very helpful and does all he can, however he can’t do it all himself.

“I sometimes have to wait several days before I can get to where I need to go. This impacts on hospital appointments, shopping trips and visits to friends and family.”

She said disabled people in a similar position in Angus are now pinning their hopes on funding being given to put more accessible taxis on the streets.

Wheelchair-bound Isabel said: “I would like to see more accessible taxis as it’s not fair on me or anyone else.

“It’s not easy to get to the places I want to go at the times that suit me.”

Residents have contacted Arbroath East and Lunan Independent councillor Lois Speed to report the “detrimental impact and issues that they are experiencing”.

Ms Speed will bring a motion to full council in December and request the local authority’s chief executive Margo Williamson ask the UK and Scottish Governments for funds to help taxi drivers buy adapted cars.

“Mary and Isabel’s experiences and the experiences of others lay bare the real problems that people in Angus are facing due to the lack of accessible taxis,” said Ms Speed.

“It’s something we have to change because the numbers are currently going in the wrong direction.

“If we can do that by applying for funding then it’s certainly something worth investigating.

“I have the upmost respect for the taxi trade in Angus who are a vital part of our economy and often work unsociable hours.

“I have witnessed on many occasions drivers going above and beyond to help customers and they know and support our communities well.

“But people with physical disabilities should not have to face multiple barriers especially when it comes to travel and transport.”


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:47 pm 
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Cost implication blamed as the real barrier to lack of wheelchair taxis in Angus

https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/lo ... -in-angus/

The huge gulf in cost between saloon cars and accessible vehicles is being blamed by the trade for the lack of wheelchair taxis in Angus.

It comes after disabled people told how they are being left trapped in their homes after the number of wheelchair taxis in the region dropped to just seven.

There are no accessible vehicles in Monifieth and Sidlaw and only one serving Montrose and Brechin and a single car for all of Arbroath and Carnoustie.

There are five in Forfar and Kirriemuir.

A second-hand saloon car could cost as little as £1,000 to run as a taxi, while wheelchair accessible vehicles currently retail in the region of £20,000 to £30,000.

Both will attract the same income but the latter has an initial outlay which is too costly for many operators.

Angus Council has been warned any compulsory action to require all taxis to be wheelchair accessible could have significant cost implications to the trade and may need to be the subject of lengthy transitional arrangements, particularly in Angus, which has a significant number of drivers with one vehicle.

UK and Scottish ministers will be asked to unlock funds to reverse the situation when Arbroath East and Lunan Independent councillor Lois Speed brings a motion to full council in December.

Barry Ward of Coastal Cabs in Montrose has two saloon cars but said his long-term aim is to buy two more which are wheelchair accessible vehicles.

Mr Ward said he would welcome extra funding to purchase accessible vehicles but suggested one way to plug the gap would be for Angus Council to buy them and lease them back to taxi operators.

He said he had looked at purchasing a wheelchair accessible vehicle before starting the firm.

He said he was put off by the difference in cost and whether the demand would outweigh the supply.

Mr Ward said: “We have been receiving calls from disabled customers in the past year and we now want to address the shortage.

“Ideally I would like to add two wheelchair accessible taxis to the fleet and we would welcome additional funding to help with the cost.

“One way of addressing the shortage in Angus could be for the council to buy them and lease them to the operators with monthly payments and perhaps the option to eventually own the car.”

Neighbouring Dundee operates a mixed fleet of saloon cars and wheelchair accessible vehicles.

There is no significant unmet demand for taxis but those obtaining licences after April 2005 are restricted to using European Whole Volume Type Approval vehicles.

They tend to cost in the region of £20,000 to £30,000 and the most common example of this type is the “purpose built London taxi.”

In Aberdeen a controversial proposal to make all taxis wheelchair accessible was ditched by council chiefs until at least 2022.

A legal ruling dating back to 1994 had previously committed the local authority to implementing the policy by 2017.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:56 pm 
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Quote:
A second-hand saloon car could cost as little as £1,000 to run as a taxi, while wheelchair accessible vehicles currently retail in the region of £20,000 to £30,000.

Ludicrous comparison. Might just as well claim that you can pick up a WAV for a couple of grand, but to plate a Tesla saloon could cost £60k.

No one doubts WAVs tend to be more expensive, but credible comparisons, please [-(

Saloon operator wrote:
"One way of addressing the shortage in Angus could be for the council to buy them and lease them to the operators with monthly payments and perhaps the option to eventually own the car.”

Plenty private sector providers offer this kind of thing. Suspect just wants easy credit, low finance costs, and a subsidy.

Quote:
[Dundee WAVs] tend to cost in the region of £20,000 to £30,000 and the most common example of this type is the “purpose built London taxi.”

Not really many of the latter in Dundee. There were quite a few TXs around at one time, when anyone could get a WAV HC plate and a local garage had a dealership franchise, but they all disappeared after a few years. Maybe a handful of TXs around, but can't recall seeing one for a year or two at least.


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