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Government publish Inclusive Transport Strategy

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Government publish Inclusive Transport Strategy 26th July 2018

The Government have published its Inclusive Transport Strategy including provisions relating to taxi and private hire licensing.

The strategy sets out the Government’s plans to make our transport system more inclusive, and to make travel easier for disabled people.

It builds on the responses received to the 2017 consultation on a draft Accessibility Action Plan, and sets out how it will deliver the necessary changes to our transport networks, both through government interventions and working in partnership with industry and others.

Taxis and Private Hire 

The strategy sets out a number of provisions and plans relating to taxi and private hire licensing:

Chapter 5 explains how the Government will raise awareness of the rights of disabled travellers, and how it will ensure better enforcement of existing legislation including a commitment to: “…consult on revised best practice guidance to support local licensing authorities (LLAs) to use their existing powers in respect of taxis and private hire vehicles more effectively.”

Note however that the taxi & private hire best practice guidance consultation may not be launched until 2019: “By end of 2019, publish for consultation revised best practice guidance to support local licensing authorities (LLAs) to use their existing powers more effectively. In particular we will recommend that authorities require taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers to complete disability awareness and equality training, make it simple to report discrimination and take robust action against drivers alleged to have discriminated against disabled passengers.”

Chapter 8 sets out the physical infrastructure changes which will be made to make it easier for disabled people to access transport. This will include the DfT “…to encourage local licensing authorities to increase the numbers of wheelchair-accessible taxis and private hire vehicles…”. The strategy also sets out a commitment by the DfT to “…publish each year a list of those authorities which do, and do not, publish lists of wheelchair accessible taxis.”

Timelines

From autumn 2018, publish data on an annual basis on the proportion of wheelchair accessible taxis and PHVs in local areas;

From autumn 2019 publish on an annual basis a list of those authorities which we know to have issued a list of taxis and PHVs designated as being wheelchair accessible in accordance with Section 167 of the Equality Act 2010;

Continue to encourage local licensing authorities, which have not already done so, to publish lists of taxis and PHVs designated as wheelchair accessible under Section 167 of the Equality Act 2010, and to inform the Department that they have done so.

In the longer term the Government wants the service currently provided by taxis and PHVs to be as accessible to disabled passengers as it is for those who are not disabled. This should mean not only that vehicles are sufficiently accessible to provide for people with a range of access needs, but that the means of hiring them is accessible, that passengers can be picked up or dropped off at a location convenient to them, and that no disabled person is ever left at the kerbside or charged extra for their journey. We also want LLAs to understand their role in helping this to happen, both through the licensing system and through other areas of influence, such as traffic management.

By end of 2019, publish for consultation revised best practice guidance to support local licensing authorities (LLAs) to use their existing powers more effectively.

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