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Business: News from Yorkshire Live
The number of wheelchair-friendly taxis in Harrogate could be doubled after complaints that disabled people have been “cut off from society” because of a lack of travel options.
Harrogate Borough Council has proposed to increase the number of dedicated licences for wheelchair-accessible taxis from 11 to 23.. It comes after the council commissioned a study which found disabled people were suffering from a “great deal of anxiety” over worries that they could not get around. Jackie Snape, chief executive of Disability Action Yorkshire, said that before lockdown wheelchair users were being put under a “cab curfew” because they could not get a taxi after 5pm, leaving some stranded miles away from their homes.
Mrs Snape said users described the situation as “unfair” and that it was impacting their everyday lives She said introducing more dedicated licences is now the best way forward.
“Disabled people don’t want to contact a charity for transport, they want to be able to call a taxi company, and have a cab pick them up and take them to their chosen destination,” Mrs Snape said.
“Covid has meant that many disabled people have been self-isolating and the demand for wheelchair accessible vehicles has not been there. However, as they begin to venture out, this will change because at the moment they would much rather get a taxi than use public transport.” Of the 148 taxis currently operating in the area, only 11 are wheelchair accessible, according to the study. The study also said approximately two per cent of the population in the Harrogate district are wheelchair users.The council’s licensing committee met last night to discuss the issue and agreed that the 12 extra licences should be made available. The committee also agreed that the maximum length of a taxi with wheelchair access should be increased to 5.2 metres, and that the council should continue to promote firms which offer such services.