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Gloucestershire Business News

Consultation launched to improve taxi accessibility in Cheltenham

Cheltenham Borough Council has launched a four week consultation which asks all licensed taxi drivers about council proposals for schemes to promote better availability of licensed wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs).

The local authority said it wants to harness technology in the most effective way, and to promote and roll out a ride hailing app to help wheelchair users to access hackney carriage WAVs more easily.

The consultation follows recent news from the council that it was reviewing its WAV policy for hackney carriages in line with meeting its climate zero carbon ambition by 2030.

Cllr Martin Horwood, member for regulatory services, said: "We're aware that people with a range of disabilities can struggle to access the wheelchair accessible taxis we have when they need them.

"This makes it challenging for those affected to go about their lives and undertake activities that require them to travel and which able-bodied people often take for granted.

"The idea of a ride-hailing app is an exciting idea that I want to see taken up in Cheltenham. We have a duty to ensure that service provision is available to all and this includes taxis being suitable and sufficient for those with disabilities.

"We are now putting forward formal proposals in relation to the app, which we hope will gain a good response from the public and provide long term solutions for those currently impacted by the current shortfall in wheelchair accessible vehicles."

Ann Lightfoot, chair of the Cheltenham Accessibility Forum, said: "We welcome this further action the council is making to ensure provision of wheelchair accessible vehicles."

The consultation, which closes at noon on December 30, includes a proposal to offer a contact list on request and employ the use of smartphone ride hailing technology to improve the availability of licensed wheelchair accessible Hackney Carriage vehicles to users with disabilities.

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