Wheelchair accessible vehicles and travel and safety advice for users of wheelchairs and assistance dogs

Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle (PHV)

Obligations on taxi and PHV transport providers

Disabled passengers travelling by taxi or PHV have rights:

  • Section 20 of the Equality Act 2010, requires service providers to make reasonable adjustments to enable access to their services.
  • Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010, requires non-exempt drivers of taxis and PHVs designated as wheelchair accessible to accept the carriage of wheelchair users, to provide them with appropriate assistance, and to refrain from charging more than other passengers for the same service.
  • Sections 168 and 170 of the Equality Act 2010, requires non-exempt drivers of taxis and PHVs to accept the carriage of assistance dogs and to refrain from charging extra for them.

As well as rules on wheelchairs and assistance dogs, all taxi and minicab drivers must ensure they do not discriminate against and can not treat anybody less favourably.

Taxi and PHV complaints and enforcement process

Passengers who feel a driver has failed to comply with Sections 165, 168 or 170 of the Equality Act 2010 should contact the council that licenses the driver/vehicle.

 

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Section 165 of the of the Equalities Act 2010 sets out the duties placed on drivers of designated wheelchair-accessible taxis and private hire vehicles (PHV).

The duties are:

  • To carry the passenger while in the wheelchair
  • Not to make any additional charge for doing so
  • If the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair in the vehicle
  • To take such steps as are necessary to ensure the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort
  • To give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.


The Act then defines mobility assistance as:

  • To enable the passenger to get in or out of the vehicle
  • If the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get in and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair
  • To load the passenger's luggage in or out of the vehicle
  • If the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair in or out of the vehicle

If you have any questions or difficulties please contact the licensing section.

Unless exempt, it is an offence for the driver of a taxi or PHV on the licensing authority's designated list to fail to comply.

Although each situation will be different, we take the view that reasonable mobility assistance will be subject to other applicable laws, including health and safety legislation.

We always expect drivers to provide assistance. This might include folding manual wheelchairs and placing them in the luggage compartment, installing the boarding ramp, or securing a wheelchair within the passenger compartment.

Depending on the weight of the wheelchair, and the capability of the driver, reasonable mobility assistance could also include pushing a manual wheelchair or light-electric wheelchair up a ramp, or stowing a light-electric wheelchair in the luggage compartment.

The requirement not to charge a wheelchair user extra means a meter should not be left running while the driver performs duties required by the Act, or the passenger enters, leaves, or secures their wheelchair within the passenger compartment.

Some drivers may have a medical condition, a disability, or physical condition, that makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for them to provide the sort of physical assistance required.

That is why the Act under Section 166 allows councils to grant exemptions to individual drivers.

 


Assistance Dogs

Under the Equality Act 2010, licensed drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles are under a duty to carry passengers with guide, hearing and other assistance dogs without additional charge. Drivers can apply for to the Council for a certificate exempting them from carrying assistance dogs on medical grounds. None of the drivers licensed by Runnymede currently have an exemption certificate, drivers licensed by other Councils may have these.

Runnymede will take any refusal to carry assistance dogs very seriously, if you are unfortunate enough to be refused carriage of your assistance dog please obtain as much information as possible about the driver / vehicle and inform the licensing team.

The Guide Dogs Association has produced a video to help drivers understand the needs of people with assistance dogs, please make yourself aware of these very useful tips.

Transport for London have produced a very useful guide on the different type of assistance dog, please see the link to view the poster. http://content.tfl.gov.uk/new-assistance-dogs-ad.pdf


Seatbelts

The law regarding seatbelts can be confusing and there are some exemptions for taxis and private hire vehicles, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) produce a useful guide to this. Seat belt law


Personal Safety Guide

Taxis and private hire vehicles must be licensed to be able to work. Councils throughout the country are responsible for licensing drivers and vehicles who work in their Council areas (Boroughs) but these drivers and vehicles can also work legally in other areas on a pre-booked basis.

The Council as a licensing authority is responsible for ensuring drivers and vehicles provide you with a safe means of transport. Each Council will have it's own standards and requirements.

Drivers in Runnymede are subject to a knowledge test to ensure they know their way around the area, driving licence checks, enhanced criminal record checks, right to work / leave to remain checks and medical tests to ensure they are safe and suitable while vehicles are required to be of a specific standard and regularly inspected.

Vehicles and drivers which are licensed by other Councils can be found working legally in Runnymede.

It has been known for people to operate illegally, such as without a driver's or vehicle licence from the Council. As well as being illegal it puts you at risk as you will not be covered by any insurance and the driver and vehicle may not have had any safety checks.

In the interest of your own safety there are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure you are getting into a licensed vehicle with a licensed driver. Please see the taxisafe leaflet for further information.

 

SAFE TRAVEL- LOCAL TAXIS (hackney carriages)
ARE
usually ordinary saloon cars or purpose built Taxis approved by the Council displaying a large rectangular sticker on the rear of the car - black lettering on a white background. This shows the vehicle licence number, the date it is licenced expires and the number of passengers it is licenced to carry. Taxis must have an illuminated roof mounted sign when plying for hire.

ARE found on taxi ranks and plying for hire in the streets.

MUST have tested and sealed meters.

FARE SCALE (THE COST PER MILE)is approved by the Council and must be displayed in the vehicle.

DRIVER must wear an identification badge; this will show their photograph and Council licence number.

ALWAYS check that the driver and vehicle are licensed AND that the meter is working.

ALWAYS ask the driver who they are collecting to make sure you are in the right vehicle

MAKE SUREthe driver puts his meter on only when you commence your journey - not before.BUT beware of keeping your taxi waiting, if you have called one out, you will be charged waiting time.

ALWAYS take passengers to their destination by the most direct route unless otherwise agreed.

IF the journey takes the taxi outside the Borough of Runnymede, the driver must still charge in accordance with the Fare Table unless they have agreed otherwise with the hirer before the journey has started.

Some companies provide lady drivers, and wheelchair accessible vehicles on request.

 

SAFE TRAVEL - LOCAL PRIVATE HIRE VEHICLES

ARE ordinary saloon cars approved by the Council displaying a large rectangular sticker on the rear of the car, black lettering on a green/white background. This shows the vehicle licence number, the date it is licenced expires and the number of passengers it is licenced to carry.

MUST NOT ply for hire in the street, so you can not flag them down, they cannot pick you up anywhere unless you have pre-booked. The driver is acting illegally if they allow this and can lose their licence. You are also at risk as you will not be insured in the vehicle.

CANNOT wait on taxi ranks.

MUST BE booked with their office or by phone or app.

ASK for a fixed price for your journey or check the likely cost of the journey before booking.

FARES are not set by the Council (unless they have a meter) so ask how the fare is to be calculated.

DRIVER must wear an identification badge; this will show their photograph and Council licence number.

ALWAYS check that the driver and vehicle are licensed.

ALWAYSask the driver who they are collecting to make sure you are in the right vehicle

ALWAYS take passengers to their destination by the most direct route unless otherwise agreed.

Some companies provide lady drivers, and wheelchair accessible vehicles on request.