West Tyrone Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Equality Commission Guidance sought on Increased Disabled Taxi Fares

Published: 27 February, 2013

Sinn Fein Omagh town Councillor Sorcha McAnespy has said the local council is seeking guidance from the Equality commission regarding Disabled passenger's being charged at a rate of time and a half for taxi journeys. She said the practice is affecting the travel requirements of local disabled people.

Speaking on the issue councillor McAnespy said:

"Having being contacted by a local disabled person they related how they had arranged a local taxi for transport to the airport. With a flat rate of £60 the local person ended up paying £90 after he was charged at a rate of time and a half.

"Taxis companies said that the rate of time and half is charged due to having to use adopted vehicles for the taxi run as well as the assistance they offer, however I think this practice should be consigned to the past. Particularly given that in other parts of the world travel for disabled people are subsidised and even covered completely and maybe this is something which could be explored further.

"Equality legislation dictates that disabled people should have the same access to travel as able bodied people, at no extra cost. Indeed there is no legislation supporting or requiring the time and half charge, however there is legislation requiring taxi companies to make reasonable adjustments to vehicles, which would be paid for under general expenses. This was proven in a court case in 2011 when a Belfast based company was successfully challenged on the time and half charge for fares.

"I think that a flat rate should be introduced for all passengers regardless of their mobility. After being approached by this local constituent we have, through the council, sought guidance from the Equality Commission in regards this issue.