The number of Brighton and Hove taxis able to carry people with wheelchairs will increase if councillors agree a series of licensing reforms next week.
The reforms will, if passed, also require all cabs to be fitted with CCTV cameras from April next year.
CCTV is currently optional but the change should mean that all cabs in the area have cameras fitted by April 2012.
The proposals are expected to be approved at a meeting of the Brighton and Hove City Council licensing committee being held a week tomorrow.
– Changes to the complaints procedure for dissatisfied passengers
– A one-year pilot scheme to allow people to phone the drivers of wheelchair-accessible cabs directly to book a taxi
– Fitting CCTV cameras in all taxis from next April when new licences are issued or existing licences renewed
– Allowing the use of rear-loading vehicles to provide a wider choice of wheelchair-accessible vehicles
– Only permitting those granted a new hackney carriage licence to operate wheelchair-accessible vehicles, with the same condition applying when a licence is transferred
– Increasing the maximum age limit for wheelchair-accessible vehicles from 10 to 12 years.
The council said that it had drafted the proposals after consulting groups representing disabled people and taxi drivers.
Councillor Denise Cobb, chairman of the licensing committee, said: “Most of our taxi drivers are very professional and do a good job across the city.
“But we are not complacent and we know from feedback – particularly from disabled people – that there is room for improvement.
“We have worked closely with the taxi trade, private hire operators and disabled groups, and taken into account the views of all parties involved in drawing up these proposals.”
The review of taxi and private hire services was originally carried out to tie in with new national legislation relating to the accessibility of taxis and private hire vehicles.
However, the legislation has been delayed by the change of government and local authorities are now waiting for guidance.
The licensing committee report can be viewed here.
The meeting is due to start at 3pm on Friday 10 September at Hove Town Hall. It is open to the public.
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