Accessible Travel - Information for Disabled and Less Mobile People
6. Travelling by Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle
For many disabled people, taxis (licensed taxis, e.g. black cabs) and private hire vehicles (e.g. mini cabs) are a very important means of getting around, particularly when other transport choices are not available. Both can be booked in advance. However, only licensed taxis are permitted to stand on taxi ranks or be hailed by passengers on the street.
General information on taxis and private hire services is available on the Directgov website: www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Publictransport/TaxisAndPrivateHireVehicles/DG_10036418.
Wheelchair Access in Taxis
The accessibility of taxis will depend on the model or capacity of the vehicle, and your local taxi operator will be able to tell you what vehicles are available to suit your needs.
Some licensing authorities, mainly those in larger cities, require all licensed taxis to be wheelchair accessible (e.g. in London). In some areas, taxis and minicabs are saloon cars, which are not wheelchair accessible, but you may be able to transfer out of your wheelchair, because most will take a folded wheelchair in the boot. Some taxi and mini cab operators also have larger 'people carriers' or 'multipurpose vehicles' with access for wheelchair users.
The decision on whether or not to carry powered mobility vehicles is up to the driver and will depend on the size of your vehicle and on health and safety considerations.
You can find out about the wheelchair accessible taxis available in your area by contacting the taxi licensing office in your local authority or, in London, contact Transport for London (TfL). See Section 1 for contact information.
Assistance Dogs in Taxis
The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on taxi and private hire drivers to carry assistance dogs in their taxis at no extra cost. Drivers that cannot carry assistance dogs will carry a certificate of exemption confirming they have permission to refuse on medical grounds.
RNIB produces a card with the word "Taxi" in bold, black lettering to help blind and partially sighted people stop a black cab in the street. Contact the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 to obtain one.
Making a Complaint about Taxi and Private Hire Services
If you need to make a complaint about a taxi or private hire driver or a taxi or private hire operator, please contact the taxi licensing office in your local authority or see: www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Publictransport/TaxisAndPrivateHireVehicles/DG_10036287. It may be helpful to have the licence number or registration of the vehicle concerned.
In London, complaints about taxis and private hire drivers and operators should be reported directly to the Public Carriage Office on 0845 300 7000 or online at: www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/contact/pco.
Some local authorities fund Taxicard schemes for disabled people who have difficulty using public transport. Taxicard holders are able to travel in licensed taxis at reduced fares. Contact your local authority to find out what is available in your area.
In London, the Taxicard scheme is funded by participating London boroughs and the Mayor of London. For more details visit the London Councils Taxicard Scheme website: www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/taxicard/default.htm. Alternatively, telephone: 020 7934 9791 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.