A hackney taxi driver has had his licence revoked with immediate effect for failing to properly secure a disabled passenger in his cab on two separate occasions.
The driver did not use restraining straps to secure the wheelchair and the passenger in the correct position. He then failed to admit these failures to Coventry City Council enforcement officers when subsequently interviewed under caution.
Details of the two incidents have been heard by the Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee which took the decision to withdraw the driver’s licence.
The committee felt that the driver had tried to pass the burden of responsibility onto the complainant stating that it was the passenger who had requested not to be strapped in.
Members were unanimous in the decision to revoke the licence and wanted to send a clear message to Coventry taxi drivers that transporting any passenger in a dangerous manner would not be tolerated.
All hackney cab drivers are trained in how to place wheelchair passengers into a vehicle. But the driver accepted at the hearing that he had not followed the correct procedure.
He had loaded the passenger and wheelchair sideways into the vehicle and then stretched restraining belts over the legs of the complainant.
In hackney cabs, a wheelchair must be turned to face the rear of the vehicle and secured using straps and the seatbelt within the vehicle.
During the hearing, the Licensing and Regulatory Committee also warned Private Hire Operators need to review procedures in relation to disabled passengers. They also want to see a robust complaints procedure in place, as a lack of one may lead to a review of their licence.
Andrew Walster, Director, Streetscene and Regulatory Services at Coventry City Council, believes the committee has sent a clear warning to all taxi drivers.
He said: “Members are unanimous that the Council wants to ensure that all taxis operating in our city are accessible to all members of the public and that they are carried in a safe and proper manner.
“There are further enforcement operations planned in the future to ensure compliance by all our taxi operators.
“It would be clear discrimination should taxi operators decline to take wheelchair users based upon their disability. If reports of any refusals are received then the driver leaves themselves open to a licence review.”