New taxi accessibility law is toothless

A new law which means that taxi drivers £1,000 fines if they discriminate against wheelchair users is in danger of being toothless according to a disability rights activist.

In February 2017, disabled people in the UK welcomed the new law which means that taxi drivers can be penalised for refusing to take wheelchair users or to charge extra. However, 38-year-old disabled campaigner Doug Paulley discovered that the law only applies if the local council has created a "designated list" of wheelchair accessible taxis. Also, as Doug points out, under Section 167 of the Equality Act 2010 there is no statutory requirement for Local Authorities to maintain such a list. Any council not doing so, effectively renders the law toothless.

Doug Paulley, who previously won an action taken against First Group over wheelchair access on buses, submitted Freedom of Information requests to all 366 taxi licensing councils, and Transport for London to find out who had set up designated lists.

He found that 59% (75% in Scotland) of British taxi licensing authorities they have no such list, nor any plan to create one in the near future and so could not enforce the law. 26% stated they had actively decided not to work towards such a list at the moment.

Doug has produced an interactive map showing where you can find out if your local authority has a list in place or planned. He urges people whose local authority does not have a designated list to encourage them to do so. The website gives information as to how to do this.

Check your local authority at: www.kingqueen.org.uk/listmap