Drivers will now be obliged to help wheelchair-using clients get in and out of their vehicles for no extra charge, as well as helping load luggage into or out of the vehicle, as part of a host of new government legislation.
Cabinet member for housing and safer communities, Coun Mike Chambers, approved the adoption of Sections 165 and 167 of the Equality Act 2010 at a meeting on Tuesday (October 23).
Among the other requirements of the new laws are that drivers are required to give passengers as much ‘mobility assistance’ as required.
Mobility assistance includes helping the passenger into and out of the vehicle if they don’t want to remain in their wheelchair, as well as loading the wheelchair in and out of the vehicle.
The legislation also mandates that a list of designated wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles will also be created for the local area.
Taxi and private car drivers will be able to apply to be exempt from the new requirements under physical grounds.
While adopting the government legislation wasn’t mandatory for councils, Coun Chambers said it was the “fair” thing to do.
“Clearly we do need to ensure we do have access availability to the travelling public, including those with disabilities,” he said.
Lachlan Leeming , Local Democracy Reporting Service