November 16, 2012
Dundee City Council has agreed to set a limit on the number of taxis allowed to operate in the city, 60% of which will be required to be wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs).
The licensing committee has agreed to the proposal that will ensure the city is capable of providing disabled passengers with a high standard of service.
Dundee cabbies will also be offered a training course so they feel confident in securing the wheelchair passenger safely to travel.
A report by Roger Mennie, head of democratic and legal services, showed that wheelchair users are on average 67% more likely to use taxis and private hire cars than the general public. Mr Mennie then commented that the council should be aiming for a 60/40 ratio of WAVs and saloon cars.
Wheelchair Accessible Taxis
There were 621 taxis in Dundee on September 30 with 52.8% wheelchair accessible (328 vehicles) and 47.2% saloons (293).
A number of taxi drivers told of the difficulties in making an income in the current economic climate. Overcrowded taxi ranks have resulted in a lot of the city’s drivers working a 16 hour shift.
Everyone agreed that a cap on the number of licenses would allow more trade for existing drivers.
Mr Mennie’s report said that before a limit could be imposed, the committee would have to be positive that the demands for taxis were being met in the city. In order to set a top number, the Council would have to conduct a survey.
Councillors agreed that this is how they should progress and that specialists should be brought in to carry out a demand survey.
Taxi trade representatives called for a suspension on new licences until the outcome of a survey was produced. Mr Mennie said that this action could result in the council being seen as causing injustice.
It was agreed that new licenses would only be given to applicants who were willing to buy a wheelchair accessible taxi until the limit was set.
The committee will meet again to discuss the results of the survey and how they will achieve the 60/40 split.