Decade-long taxi ruling is thrown out after petition

Taxi driver John Gregory
Taxi driver John Gregory
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Taxi drivers in South Ribble have succeeded in overturning a rule requiring all their vehicles to be wheelchair friendly by April.

In 2005, the council passed a motion giving firms 10 years to get all their vehicles ready, but with the deadline looming, drivers mounted a petition, arguing there wasn’t enough demand, and it would cost too much.

On Tuesday night, members of South Ribble Council’s licensing committee decided in the driver’s favour, saying only new vehicles must be wheelchair accessible.

Taxi driver John Gregory hailed the decision “a victory for sensibility”.

He said: “We’re all very pleased with the outcome, we feel the council has listened to our concerns, and I don’t think that there could have been a fairer decision.”

A statement from the council said: “The Committee decision not only benefits wheelchair users but also addresses the requirements of ambulant disabled and elderly users.”

It adds: “The committee have also decided to review this decision in a period of five years, and wish for all the findings to be presented before the General Licensing Committee.

“This will allow the authority to keep a watching brief not only on the number of vehicles which are wheel chair accessible but also if there is a balance of vehicles for all taxi users.”

Sally Wallace from Lostock Hall, who is paralysed from the chest down, said: “I’m pleased that there’s some change, at least eventually we will end up with all vehicles wheelchair accessible.

“It was unrealistic financially for all vehicles to be changed by April, but the taxi firms left it too late.

“It wouldn’t have been unrealistic if they had started planning 10 years ago.”