Walsall Officials performed an undercover operation to see if Walsall taxi and private hire vehicle drivers are safely transporting wheelchair-bound passengers.
Community protection officers, with the special participation of a handicapped police officer, carried out the recent task.
The evaluation revealed that the cases of safety breaches decreased following the earlier spot check in March. However, several problems still emerged from two out of five drivers on that day.
One taxi agency sent a non-wheelchair accessible taxi despite being told that the customer is wheelchair-bound.
Another driver failed to secure both the wheelchair and the passenger on-board. The same driver also forgot to set the taxi-meter, then overcharged for the journey.
The law states that all public utility vehicles cannot refuse to take a passenger in a wheelchair. In addition, these drivers must also follow safety procedures and not charge them extra in any circumstance.
“Public safety is a priority in our licensing role and this is why we carry out enforcement operations such as this,” Regulatory services manager Lorraine Boothman said in a statement. “People with disabilities often rely on the taxi and private hire trades and we need to ensure that they can use them with confidence.“
Moreover, Lorraine also mentioned how she was pleased to see a significant improvement compared to the last operation. Despite these errors, there were still courteous and considerate taxi drivers. In fact, one driver in the operation provided an excellent service, observing safety procedures, and showing a positive attitude.