Taxi firms warned over disabled fares

'Mystery shopper' Tom Walsh

'Mystery shopper' Tom Walsh

First published in Bradford

Taxi licensing officers at Bradford Council have warned taxi and minicab companies they could face prosecution under discrimination laws following claims they are charging wheelchair users up to twice as much as much as able-bodied passengers.

A meeting was held between bosses at the Council’s fleets and licensing team, taxi driver organisations and private hire operators after campaigners at Keighley-based People First said they had evidence that firms were “discriminating against the disabled” by charging inflated rates for adapted vehicles which can carry wheelchairs and up to seven passengers.

People First co-ordinator Hanna Bennet aid: “Companies can charge what they like but they can't discriminate against disabled people.”

Wheelchair user Tom Walsh acted as a “mystery shopper”, phoning several firms to ask for a taxi , then the following day to ask for a cab for a wheelchair user. He said each firm quoted vastly different prices, with several charging double for the use of an adapted vehicle, adding more than £20 to the price of trips between Keighley in Bradford.

He said: “There's a feeling that taking taxis is a luxury, but for some disabled people it's a necessity. I have to take a lot of trips in a taxi.

“Some disabled people have more taxi trips than others because of health appointments. It's not just about going to the bingo.”

The Council has now told firms they must charge the same amount for both kinds of vehicle and have been given six months to comply or face prosecution.

Stuart Hastings, who runs Metro Keighley Taxis, said he had asked his drivers to comply immediately.

He said the company recently paid £25,000 for two adapted taxis, which he said were specialist vehicles that cost more to run.

Mr Hastings said a journey normally taking ten minutes would take half an hour due to the extra time needed to get the wheelchair in and out of the vehicle, including helping the user and putting down a ramp, meaning taxi drivers losing money.

Mr Hastings added: “A large firm like us will subsidise the money or stand the loss, but a one-man band won't be able to take the job.”

The new rules apply to private hire vehicles that passengers book either over the phone or by walking into the taxi office.

Hackney carriages, which queue in taxi ranks, have meters which already charge everybody the same fare.

Shabir Munir, a spokesman for Bradford Hackney Carriage Drivers and Owners Association, who attended the meeting, said: “There is no justification for discriminating against the disabled and if people are breaking the law,the public should be made aware.”

Carol Stos, the Council’s fleet and licensing manager, said the the authority could regulate charges made by hackney carriages but private hire firms were able to set charges.

Comments (15)

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11:48am Thu 3 May 12

count_cillla says...

Mr Munir – yes ur right there should be no discrimination but you're fares are controlled by meters and rates set by the Council….so if it takes you half an hour to load and unload a wheelchair from your taxi you can charge the extra time because your meter justifies it….but if a Private Hire driver charges extra because of the time taken, it becomes discrimination ? So why don’t Hackney charge less than the rate on the meter for when they pick up wheelchair passengers…that would be fair wouldn’t it and less discriminatory – or would that be "favouring" disabled passengers.
In any case wheelchair users are entitled to claim Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance which are allowances to pay for the costs that are related to their disability including the cost of transport to help them get around.
Mr Munir – yes ur right there should be no discrimination but you're fares are controlled by meters and rates set by the Council….so if it takes you half an hour to load and unload a wheelchair from your taxi you can charge the extra time because your meter justifies it….but if a Private Hire driver charges extra because of the time taken, it becomes discrimination ? So why don’t Hackney charge less than the rate on the meter for when they pick up wheelchair passengers…that would be fair wouldn’t it and less discriminatory – or would that be "favouring" disabled passengers. In any case wheelchair users are entitled to claim Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance which are allowances to pay for the costs that are related to their disability including the cost of transport to help them get around. count_cillla
  • Score: 0

12:11pm Thu 3 May 12

Joedavid says...

Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare.
If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter.
Council seems to have not thought their system through fully.
Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare. If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter. Council seems to have not thought their system through fully. Joedavid
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Thu 3 May 12

Huneybunch says...

count_cillla wrote:
Mr Munir – yes ur right there should be no discrimination but you're fares are controlled by meters and rates set by the Council….so if it takes you half an hour to load and unload a wheelchair from your taxi you can charge the extra time because your meter justifies it….but if a Private Hire driver charges extra because of the time taken, it becomes discrimination ? So why don’t Hackney charge less than the rate on the meter for when they pick up wheelchair passengers…that would be fair wouldn’t it and less discriminatory – or would that be "favouring" disabled passengers. In any case wheelchair users are entitled to claim Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance which are allowances to pay for the costs that are related to their disability including the cost of transport to help them get around.
in a sense I agree with what you are saying as they do get a living allownace for being disabled, but the meters go by the amount of milage and not by the time it takes to load and unload. My daughter and I had to get a mini bus due to having a lot of shopping and we were charged more beause of this but we didnt mind as we had to get our shopping home. I think taxi's should display their prices just like any other business's do, that way we all know where we stand disalbed or not.
[quote][p][bold]count_cillla[/bold] wrote: Mr Munir – yes ur right there should be no discrimination but you're fares are controlled by meters and rates set by the Council….so if it takes you half an hour to load and unload a wheelchair from your taxi you can charge the extra time because your meter justifies it….but if a Private Hire driver charges extra because of the time taken, it becomes discrimination ? So why don’t Hackney charge less than the rate on the meter for when they pick up wheelchair passengers…that would be fair wouldn’t it and less discriminatory – or would that be "favouring" disabled passengers. In any case wheelchair users are entitled to claim Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance which are allowances to pay for the costs that are related to their disability including the cost of transport to help them get around.[/p][/quote]in a sense I agree with what you are saying as they do get a living allownace for being disabled, but the meters go by the amount of milage and not by the time it takes to load and unload. My daughter and I had to get a mini bus due to having a lot of shopping and we were charged more beause of this but we didnt mind as we had to get our shopping home. I think taxi's should display their prices just like any other business's do, that way we all know where we stand disalbed or not. Huneybunch
  • Score: 0

12:25pm Thu 3 May 12

Albion. says...

Joedavid wrote:
Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare.
If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter.
Council seems to have not thought their system through fully.
Private hire is cheaper anyway.
[quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare. If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter. Council seems to have not thought their system through fully.[/p][/quote]Private hire is cheaper anyway. Albion.
  • Score: 0

2:16pm Thu 3 May 12

count_cillla says...

Huneybunch wrote:
count_cillla wrote: Mr Munir – yes ur right there should be no discrimination but you're fares are controlled by meters and rates set by the Council….so if it takes you half an hour to load and unload a wheelchair from your taxi you can charge the extra time because your meter justifies it….but if a Private Hire driver charges extra because of the time taken, it becomes discrimination ? So why don’t Hackney charge less than the rate on the meter for when they pick up wheelchair passengers…that would be fair wouldn’t it and less discriminatory – or would that be "favouring" disabled passengers. In any case wheelchair users are entitled to claim Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance which are allowances to pay for the costs that are related to their disability including the cost of transport to help them get around.
in a sense I agree with what you are saying as they do get a living allownace for being disabled, but the meters go by the amount of milage and not by the time it takes to load and unload. My daughter and I had to get a mini bus due to having a lot of shopping and we were charged more beause of this but we didnt mind as we had to get our shopping home. I think taxi's should display their prices just like any other business's do, that way we all know where we stand disalbed or not.
Actually Honey Bunch… you may not be aware and most Hackney drivers will not tell you this (but the Hackney office will confirm it) that the meters starts and rolls until it is stopped. It covers mileage, waiting at traffic lights, and loading and unloading. There is a charge also for part mileage. Next time you get in a Hackney watch how that meter whizzes around. That's why Hackney Drivers think they are taking the moral high ground because the Council have authorised this system of charging.

Unlike Private Hire where there is a straight forward charge for mileage only…. You could be stuck at the Peel Park Mela in July in traffic for 15 minutes but not be charged extra by Private Hire, but the journey with Hackney will make sure the driver does not lose out because of the traffic jam.

Not all disabled people are charged extra by Private Hire, for example if there is a guide dog for blind people then there is no extra charge as there is no extra time with load/unload.

In my opinion they should get rid of Hackney as there are enough Private Hire firms in Bradford now to provide a ready and reliable service to the whole district. Hackney is just an unnecessary cost for the Council to administer at a time when cuts are needed.
[quote][p][bold]Huneybunch[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]count_cillla[/bold] wrote: Mr Munir – yes ur right there should be no discrimination but you're fares are controlled by meters and rates set by the Council….so if it takes you half an hour to load and unload a wheelchair from your taxi you can charge the extra time because your meter justifies it….but if a Private Hire driver charges extra because of the time taken, it becomes discrimination ? So why don’t Hackney charge less than the rate on the meter for when they pick up wheelchair passengers…that would be fair wouldn’t it and less discriminatory – or would that be "favouring" disabled passengers. In any case wheelchair users are entitled to claim Disability Living Allowance or Attendance Allowance which are allowances to pay for the costs that are related to their disability including the cost of transport to help them get around.[/p][/quote]in a sense I agree with what you are saying as they do get a living allownace for being disabled, but the meters go by the amount of milage and not by the time it takes to load and unload. My daughter and I had to get a mini bus due to having a lot of shopping and we were charged more beause of this but we didnt mind as we had to get our shopping home. I think taxi's should display their prices just like any other business's do, that way we all know where we stand disalbed or not.[/p][/quote]Actually Honey Bunch… you may not be aware and most Hackney drivers will not tell you this (but the Hackney office will confirm it) that the meters starts and rolls until it is stopped. It covers mileage, waiting at traffic lights, and loading and unloading. There is a charge also for part mileage. Next time you get in a Hackney watch how that meter whizzes around. That's why Hackney Drivers think they are taking the moral high ground because the Council have authorised this system of charging. Unlike Private Hire where there is a straight forward charge for mileage only…. You could be stuck at the Peel Park Mela in July in traffic for 15 minutes but not be charged extra by Private Hire, but the journey with Hackney will make sure the driver does not lose out because of the traffic jam. Not all disabled people are charged extra by Private Hire, for example if there is a guide dog for blind people then there is no extra charge as there is no extra time with load/unload. In my opinion they should get rid of Hackney as there are enough Private Hire firms in Bradford now to provide a ready and reliable service to the whole district. Hackney is just an unnecessary cost for the Council to administer at a time when cuts are needed. count_cillla
  • Score: 0

2:39pm Thu 3 May 12

jonathancrewdson says...

It amazes me that in the 21st Century there are still people with the rotten attitude to discriminate against somebody because they are not as able bodied as others. What the hell kind of a city do we live in??
It amazes me that in the 21st Century there are still people with the rotten attitude to discriminate against somebody because they are not as able bodied as others. What the hell kind of a city do we live in?? jonathancrewdson
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Thu 3 May 12

wobbley-bob says...

jonathancrewdson wrote:
It amazes me that in the 21st Century there are still people with the rotten attitude to discriminate against somebody because they are not as able bodied as others. What the hell kind of a city do we live in??
What the hell kind of a city do we live in??

A Third World dump of a City!

Charging more because their DLA will pay for it, is nothing short of fraud.
It's the same scenario as private landlords charging higher rents for people getting housing benefit, than people who are working...because the DWP will pay the higher amount.
[quote][p][bold]jonathancrewdson[/bold] wrote: It amazes me that in the 21st Century there are still people with the rotten attitude to discriminate against somebody because they are not as able bodied as others. What the hell kind of a city do we live in??[/p][/quote]What the hell kind of a city do we live in?? A Third World dump of a City! Charging more because their DLA will pay for it, is nothing short of fraud. It's the same scenario as private landlords charging higher rents for people getting housing benefit, than people who are working...because the DWP will pay the higher amount. wobbley-bob
  • Score: 0

4:33pm Thu 3 May 12

ertnec says...

The attitude of certain people really annoy me especially when it comes to disabled people.
In one hand you have people who do charge extra for carrying disabled people but also certain disabled benefits are there to help you get around. come on play fare stop ripping people off. Also what about these companies who sell disabled people scooters and wheelchairs more needs doing to vet these companies as people are being sold stuff they don't need.
The attitude of certain people really annoy me especially when it comes to disabled people. In one hand you have people who do charge extra for carrying disabled people but also certain disabled benefits are there to help you get around. come on play fare stop ripping people off. Also what about these companies who sell disabled people scooters and wheelchairs more needs doing to vet these companies as people are being sold stuff they don't need. ertnec
  • Score: 0

6:14pm Thu 3 May 12

Colin Allcars says...

Albion. wrote:
Joedavid wrote: Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare. If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter. Council seems to have not thought their system through fully.
Private hire is cheaper anyway.
But more risky.
[quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare. If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter. Council seems to have not thought their system through fully.[/p][/quote]Private hire is cheaper anyway.[/p][/quote]But more risky. Colin Allcars
  • Score: 0

6:17pm Thu 3 May 12

Colin Allcars says...

Albion. wrote:
Joedavid wrote: Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare. If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter. Council seems to have not thought their system through fully.
Private hire is cheaper anyway.
So how come so many can afford to live in £100,000+ houses? Surely they aren't putting their customers at risk by working long hours?
[quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare. If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter. Council seems to have not thought their system through fully.[/p][/quote]Private hire is cheaper anyway.[/p][/quote]So how come so many can afford to live in £100,000+ houses? Surely they aren't putting their customers at risk by working long hours? Colin Allcars
  • Score: 0

6:24pm Thu 3 May 12

Albion. says...

Colin Allcars wrote:
Albion. wrote:
Joedavid wrote: Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare. If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter. Council seems to have not thought their system through fully.
Private hire is cheaper anyway.
So how come so many can afford to live in £100,000+ houses? Surely they aren't putting their customers at risk by working long hours?
Maybe they take in laundry in their spare time ;-)
[quote][p][bold]Colin Allcars[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Albion.[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Joedavid[/bold] wrote: Seems simple now if you have a wheelchair use a Private taxi for cheaper fare. If you use a Hackney carriage taxi you pay more via the meter. Council seems to have not thought their system through fully.[/p][/quote]Private hire is cheaper anyway.[/p][/quote]So how come so many can afford to live in £100,000+ houses? Surely they aren't putting their customers at risk by working long hours?[/p][/quote]Maybe they take in laundry in their spare time ;-) Albion.
  • Score: 0

7:15pm Thu 3 May 12

kf014g4343 says...

Well done People First who regularly campaign for the rights of disabled people!!!
Well done People First who regularly campaign for the rights of disabled people!!! kf014g4343
  • Score: 0

7:22pm Thu 3 May 12

johnmasterton1 says...

A number of people have commented that disabled people receive DLA to cover their additional travelling costs however, a significant number of disabled people do not enjoy this benefit which at the highest rate is £54.05/week. I understand that some of the journeys involved in the exercise mounted by Keighley People First were between Bradford and Keighley where figures in excess of £20 were quoted one way. So even if you were to be on the highest rate of DLA and not all wheelchair users are as not all disabled people use a wheelchair; you could only make one round trip from Bradford to Keighley each week with enough left for a short local trip or to pay for other essentials that you may need in order to live.
A number of people have commented that disabled people receive DLA to cover their additional travelling costs however, a significant number of disabled people do not enjoy this benefit which at the highest rate is £54.05/week. I understand that some of the journeys involved in the exercise mounted by Keighley People First were between Bradford and Keighley where figures in excess of £20 were quoted one way. So even if you were to be on the highest rate of DLA and not all wheelchair users are as not all disabled people use a wheelchair; you could only make one round trip from Bradford to Keighley each week with enough left for a short local trip or to pay for other essentials that you may need in order to live. johnmasterton1
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Thu 3 May 12

Halifaxbornshipleylass says...

Disgraceful. It`s all down to greed.
Disgraceful. It`s all down to greed. Halifaxbornshipleylass
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Thu 3 May 12

peoplefirstkc says...

Alot is being made of the fact that someone using a wheelchair recieves the mobility element of the Disability Living Allowance, this benefit is paid in recognition that the individual requires additional support or help in living a quality life with dignity and respect and to enjoy where possible the opportunity to choose to go out a reasonable amount of times per week, it is a fact the disabled people have more health care appointments, on top of this they require taxis to go food shopping, shopping for household goods, taxis to visit a friend or family, infact a taxi everytime they leave thier homes, their benefits are not paid to them to then pay to taxi drivers who feel it is acceptable to charge someone extra, as what they are doing is in effect charging someone for being disabled. Its not that many years ago that airline companies were stopped from charging wheelchair users for the use of a wheelchair.
Alot is being made of the fact that someone using a wheelchair recieves the mobility element of the Disability Living Allowance, this benefit is paid in recognition that the individual requires additional support or help in living a quality life with dignity and respect and to enjoy where possible the opportunity to choose to go out a reasonable amount of times per week, it is a fact the disabled people have more health care appointments, on top of this they require taxis to go food shopping, shopping for household goods, taxis to visit a friend or family, infact a taxi everytime they leave thier homes, their benefits are not paid to them to then pay to taxi drivers who feel it is acceptable to charge someone extra, as what they are doing is in effect charging someone for being disabled. Its not that many years ago that airline companies were stopped from charging wheelchair users for the use of a wheelchair. peoplefirstkc
  • Score: 0

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