Autistic son has been ‘let down’

Lynette Hatton is unhappy with the taxi service received by her son
Lynette Hatton is unhappy with the taxi service received by her son

An angry Chorley mother claims her autistic son is being ‘badly’ let down by disabled transport providers.

Lynette Hatton, 33, has to rely on taxis provided by Lancashire County Council to ferry her seven-year-old son Thomas to and from school in Leyland.

However, she claims he is often left waiting on the doorstep for more than 40 minutes in a morning and on occasions the taxi has failed to turn up at all.

The mother-of-two has also claimed that one taxi firm broke the rules by sending an ‘un-plated’ vehicle for a fellow school pupil and now an investigation has been launched.

Hitting out at the state of the system, Lynette said: “Thomas has autism and so routine is really important to him.

“If the taxis are late and he is late for school, then it really upsets him and affects his whole day and his behaviour when he comes home.

“It isn’t something that is happening as a one-off either, it’s every week and at least once or twice.

“He is supposed to be picked up at 8.15 to 8.20am and is always ready and waiting, but it’s often going up for nine and there’s still no sign of his transport.

“He is stood out in the cold waiting and it’s really difficult as I have a daughter in reception at Withnell Fold Primary School so I can’t set off with her until Thomas is safely in the taxi.

“He has to go to a school in Leyland as he has special educational needs and it’s frustrating as I’d love nothing more than to be able to take him myself, but I can’t be in two places at once.”

Lynette also said that Thomas had been left behind at school because taxis have again failed to turn up on time.

She added: “It’s not just me in this position, other mums and dads are too and something needs to be done.

“One taxi firm sent an un-plated taxi which means that they don’t have insurance which is just ridiculous,” she added.

“The safety of our children has to be the priority and I hate having to rely on the free transport, but something has to be done as it’s just not fair and shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

“The transport is provided by Lancashire County Council, but when I contact the taxi firms to complain they just fob me off and tell me they are on their way yet we’re still left waiting 10-15 minutes later.”

Brian Derbyshire, the manager of the county council’s Integrated Transport Unit, said: “From time to time, we encounter problems with our transport arrangements for children with special educational needs.

“In these circumstances, we work closely both with the family and the taxi company to resolve the matter to everyone’s satisfaction.

“In terms of vehicles used to take children to and from school, we expect taxi firms to use ‘correctly plated’ taxis.

“If this doesn’t happen, we report the matter to the appropriate licensing authority.”