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Disabled taxis plan put back

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Disabled taxis plan put back

Post by stf on Mon 6 Oct 2008 - 18:18

by Jo Winrow City Hall Reporter
A decision on increasing the number of wheelchair accessible taxis and putting up licence fees has been deferred to the end of the month.

Dozens of taxi drivers descended on yesterday’s meeting of Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee to protest at what they said was a lack of consultation over the changes.

As a result of their intervention, all matters relating to vehicles adapted to carry wheelchair passengers and a survey on unmet demand were deferred to October 20.

Meanwhile a plan to increase the taxi licence and vehicle testing fees by 35 per cent was deferred, to October 29.

Ian Bairstow, the Council’s assistant director for waste and street scene, the department now responsible for the hackney carriage and private hire service, told the City Hall meeting the fees had not increased – even by inflation – for the last decade.

He said: “The service should operate on a self-financing arrangement, but as a result of changes to enforcement suggested at the request of the trade, the service doesn’t meet running costs. There is a shortfall in funding.”

One option is for the Council to issue MoT certificates to run for the same period as its own inspections.

A report to the meeting also detailed a review of the number of wheelchair accessible vehicles has uncovered a “significant lack” of this type of taxi, despite an industry pledge in 2005.

The Bradford Hackney Carriage Owners’ Association agreed to surrender ten existing saloon vehicles licences a year to be replaced with specific licences for wheelchair-accessible vehicles until 2010, but the review has found only 12 plates have been converted since the pledge.

Association chairman, C D Khalid, complained to the meeting about a lack of consultation on both matters.

A representative of private hire drivers also complained about the lack of consultation, saying the Council should have written to all drivers – or at the least the firms they work for.

Councillors agreed a “more transparent and accessible” complaints procedure should be developed with a link of the Council’s website for complaints.

Everything else was deferred for consultation and more budget information to be brought to councillors.


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