The chief executive of a disability charity is calling for action over the dwindling number of wheelchair accessible taxis in Harrogate.
Jackie Snape, of Disability Action Yorkshire, said because there were so few adapted taxis in the town it meant that many disabled people were becoming socially isolated.
Mrs Snape, whose Hornbeam Park-base charity also owns and runs a residential home on Claro Road, has now written to the chair Harrogate Council’s licensing committee – the body which regulates taxis in the district – for his help and support in addressing the lack of taxis suitable for wheelchair users.
In her letter, she said the situation was so chronic that people wanting a wheelchair-friendly taxi in Harrogate can only pre-book one from 6.30am on the day they wish to make their journey.
Mrs Snape said: There is a desperate lack of these taxis in the Harrogate District, and unless action is taken the situation is only going to get worse.
Apparently taxi firms aren’t keen to buy these vehicles as they claim they are more expensive to run and their lifespan is far less than the usual vehicles used to ferry passengers about.
Unless you call at exactly 6.30am on the dot you are unlikely to be able to secure one that day. There are an awful lot of wheelchair users in Harrogate, and for many of them these taxis are the only way they can get about.
However, this is not just isolated to Harrogate, and I’m aware there are other areas in the country where this is also a problem.
Surely there should be a prescribed quota of taxis adapted to the needs of people with disabilities, based on population and age of population, which can be taken from the census.
My hope is the council’s licensing committee will look at this seriously, as we disabled people are being isolated through no fault of their own and discriminated against.
Further information about Disability Action Yorkshire is available from its website www.disabilityactionyorkshire.org.uk