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Government's National Disability Strategy Published Published Date: 06/08/2021

This strategy sets out the actions the government will take to improve the everyday lives of all disabled people including provisions relating to taxi accessibility.

The National Disability Strategy sets out the government’s vision to improve the everyday lives of disabled people. We want to ensure that disability is not a barrier to people living full, independent lives where they can reach their full potential.

"The Department for Transport’s (DfT) Inclusive Transport Strategy, first published in 2018, has helped accelerate progress. However the challenges are often significant and we acknowledge there is a lot still to do. 99% of buses now meet minimum accessibility standards, but the proportion of wheelchair accessible vehicles is just 58% in taxi fleets and 2% for private hire vehicles. Disappointingly, these figures have been falling since 2014."

The document said the Goverment will take further steps to:

  • tackle persistent accessibility issues across the transport network, including rail, buses, taxis and roads
  • enable disabled people to travel with confidence by addressing staff training, information and the attitudes and behaviours of others

Improving the accessibility of taxis and private hire vehicles

The stategy acknowledge that "Current protection for disabled people using taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) is patchy."

"Except where drivers have a medical exemption, it is an offence to refuse a wheelchair user access to a designated wheelchair accessible vehicle. It is similarly an offence to refuse an assistance dog owner access to any vehicle. But other disabled people do not share the same protections.

"Disabled people continue to report being discriminated against by taxi and PHV drivers or not given necessary assistance."

Actions proposed

DfT will take forward legislation during the current Parliament to strengthen the law on the carriage of disabled people in taxis and PHVs across Great Britain. This will ensure protection from overcharging and the provision of appropriate assistance, regardless of the service they choose to use.

We also recognise how important it is that local authorities, taxi and PHV drivers understand the needs and expectations of disabled customers, and how to support them appropriately.

DfT will continue to encourage local authorities to require drivers to complete disability awareness training.

DfT will, as soon as legislative time allows, mandate the completion of disability awareness training through new National Minimum Standards for taxi and PHV licencing. In the meantime, the department will consult during 2021 on updated guidance for licensing authorities, including strengthening recommendations on supporting an inclusive service.