Towards an Accessible Taxi Service for All
A strategy to work towards more accessible and more service oriented taxi provision was unveiled today (Tuesday July 20th) by a consortium of organisations from the disability sector. ‘Towards an Accessible Taxi Service for All’, was launched by Minister for Transport, Mr. Seamus Brennan, TD this morning.
The strategy presents exciting opportunities for the taxi industry and taxi users to work in partnership to revitalise taxi services in Ireland. This will benefit the taxi industry itself, people with physical and sensory disabilities, the general public and tourists.
A package of recommendations based on international best practice was presented, key among them being:
· a totally accessible fleet within 3 years comprising wheelchair accessible and standard accessible taxis in a ratio of 1:5
· national mandatory bright yellow livery
· provision of supports to the taxi industry
· user concessions for people with disabilities
· national accessibility audit for ranks and pick-up points.
As taxis are often the only transport option for people with physical and sensory disabilities, the continuing decline in wheelchair accessible taxis and the lack of standard accessible features is a problem that needs to be resolved urgently. The recommendations aim to resolve the situation in a way that is reasonable and feasible and will result in changes that have positive knock-on effect for all taxi users.
At the launch today the consortium stated that they look forward to cooperating with the Taxi Commission to further integrate the needs of people with physical and sensory disabilities into the taxi service. They added that they are confident that the Taxi Commission will rise to the challenge.
The consortium comprises Disability Federation of Ireland, Irish Wheelchair Association, National Council of the Blind in Ireland, National Training & Development Institute, Not for Profit Business Association, RehabCare. The report was funded as part of the European Year for People with Disabilities via the National Disability Authority.
Minister Brennan welcomed the report and said that its findings and recommendations will provide the National Taxi Regulator, National Taxi Advisory Council, the taxi industry and people with disabilities with the type of information necessary to make informed decisions going forward.
The Minister said. “The Government is committed in the Agreed Programme for Government to continue the process of making taxis wheelchair accessible. Of course a number of complex issues concerning implementation of this policy have yet to be decided. These include improvements to the existing wheelchair accessible taxi specification, issues surrounding urban/rural needs and the cost of suitable vehicles. These and other issues in this area will be addressed by the soon to be established Commission for Taxi Regulation and I will also be asking the National Taxi Council for their advice.
For further information please contact Clodagh O’Brien at 01-4293600 or 087-8530911