Thursday, February 06, 2014

Council 'facing legal action' in six-year taxi row.

THE threat of legal action is hanging over the city council in a dispute over disabled people using taxis.

Six years-worth of council reviews have failed to solve the issue and now a firm is threatening court action to change what some cabbies have dubbed a protected market.

The council's current policy means only taxis with an extremely tight turning circles - such as those made by city-based London Taxi Company - can be used.

But they can struggle to deal with some wheelchair users who do not have enough room to be securely fitted in the vehicle.

A £34,000 study claimed the council needed a re-think but bosses have instead pushed ahead with another six-month review aiming to take a 'holistic' approach to travel across the city.

The issue was set to be discussed by councillors last month - but the item was pulled from the agenda at the 11th hour.

And Allied Vehicles, which is aiming to bring specialist cabs to the city, is close to launching legal action.

General manager Donald Pow told us: "The council seem a bit confused at times. I think they understand but they don't seem to want to grapple with the issue and seem to come up with any excuse to delay it further.

"The existing policy is broadly the same as the one which Liverpool City Council tried to defend in court. Numerous other authorities have since looked at theirs but Coventry has seemed particular hard to come to terms with."

The firm already has a depot in the city and Mr Pow said it was contributing to the local economy.

And he added changing policy would not impact on existing vehicles as well as potentially benefitting hundreds of disabled people.

"It would be a no-cost move the council would make that would benefit hundreds of disabled people and if taxi drivers wanted to buy a new vehicle they still could.

"We still hope the council sees sense. It's quite a simple issue and the council has the gift to solve it."

A council spokesman confirmed a further consultation with disabled users would make up part of a wider review into travel.

"It is true that other councils have changed their policy. But equally some have not.

"We have been seeking legal advice which we will use alongside the consultation results. Our intention remains the same - to make the best decision we can for everyone."

Read more: Council 'facing legal action' in six-year taxi row | Coventry Observer 

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