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Region needs more wheelchair-friendly taxis

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By Marc
Region needs more wheelchair-friendly taxis

CALLS have been made for Dumfries and Galloway Council to help increase the number of wheelchair-friendly taxis in the region, writes Marc McLean.

This comes after it was revealed that there are just three suitable vehicles that can cater to wheelchair users out of a fleet of 265.

There are 215 standard taxis and 50 private hire cabs serving the region, according to a new council report, however none of them are specifically licensed as wheelchair-accessible vehicles.

This issue has been highlighted by Abbey Councillor Davie Stitt, who will table a motion at the full council meeting this Thursday calling for action.

The motion, seconded by his Labour councillor colleague Carolyne Wilson, reads: “The increased difficulty in securing taxi and private hire service in Dumfries and Galloway is being acutely felt by people with disabilities.

“According to the Dumfries and Galloway Council website, there are only three accessible taxis in the entire region. In 2013 the number stood at only two percent of the entire taxi fleet.

“It is evident we have not moved on in terms of inclusivity in ten years.”

They want officials to prepare a report with ideas on how to increase the number of accessible taxis locally.

Meanwhile, the council report prepared for the meeting states: “Given increased concern raised in respect of the low number of wheelchair accessible vehicles available throughout the region (there is no wheelchair accessible vehicle licensed for use in Dumfries) – and the difficulty that many are increasingly expressing in respect of being able to book/hail a taxi and/or book a private hire car – the licensing service is currently in the process of establishing a working group.”

This working group will discuss and identify challenges to the provision of wheelchair accessible vehicles, with a view to putting findings and recommendations forward to councillors for consideration at a later date.

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