Mobility Scooter Parking causes issues for Disabled Lady

Jeanette Perry from Gosport was ordered to remove her mobility scooters from outside her home, despite being moved to her one-bedroom council home because it was suitable for her disability.

Her local council told Ms Perry that she cannot keep them outside her home, but instead offered her the use of a garage to store her scooters. Unfortunately, the garage is situated a mile away from her home, but Mrs Perry relies on her mobility scooters to get around.

In an interview with local press, Ms Perry said that it has made her confused and fearful of losing her home if she carries on keeping her scooters outside the property.

Since moving to her one-bedroom house earlier this year, the 58-year-old has been told by Gosport Borough Council staff that she must either move her scooters to the garage provided, or she will need to get rid of them entirely.

Following her complaint to the council, Ms Perry was told that she could keep her scooters outside her home by council chief executive Ian Lycett. However, she is still being told by different council staff members that she cannot.

In her press interview she said, ‘I am so confused and it is adding more stress to my life. First of all they said I can’t have them outside my house, then Mr Lycett sent a letter which said I could but I am still being told I am not allowed.

So worried is Ms Perry over the scooter parking issue that she has not been able to settle in properly to her new home for fear of the council re-locating her to another property. This latest house move has been her third in 18 months, something that she really does not want to go though again.

Ms Perry’s previous home was a two-bedroom property that was considered too big for her. After being shown her new one-bedroom home, the council had failed to mention having any issues with her mobility scooters. She told local press: ‘I had no idea it was going to be such a problem.

The garage that the council has offered Ms Perry is too far away for her to walk, and even then her disability would mean she wouldn’t be able to open the garage unless it was installed with an automatic door.
As well as the mobility scooter parking issues, Ms Perry has also been told that a storage box of litter-picking equipment must also be removed. Ms Perry volunteers her spare time to picking up litter in the area, but fears she will be forced to give this up if her equipment is taken away.

According to a letter sent from Gosport Council to Ms Perry, residents are not allowed to block communal areas but added the area outside her property is within its boundary and not considered communal land.

Ms Perry has been left confused over the parking issues, and is still waiting for the situation to be resolved.

Wheelchair Users in the Wirral are Streets ahead with Taxi Services

With the introduction of new rules about carrying disabled passengers, Wirral taxi drivers have come out ahead of the game over their legal duty to carry wheelchair users.

According to new legislation, taxi drivers across the UK face a legal duty to carry wheelchair using passengers. In an announcement made by Transport Minister Andrew Jones, he said he aimed to implement anti-discrimination measures by the end of the year after bowing to pressure to end two decades of inaction after the law was first approved by Parliament.

Taxi drivers in the Wirral have shown renewed support for these measures, however they are already well ahead of the new laws as they have been enforcing these rules locally for the past 14 years!

The forward thinking Wirral Council had already adopted the rules, and since 2002, it has been a requirement that all hackney taxis licensed by Wirral Council have had to be wheelchair-accessible.
This rule has been part of the conditions of licence by the council for a number of years, and they stipulate that hackney carriage vehicles must have wheelchair ramps and securing straps within the vehicle at all times.

A council spokesman commented to local press, “Before the council grants a licence for a hackney carriage or private hire driver licence, the applicant has to obtain a recognised qualification.”

A course undertaken by taxi drivers leads towards this qualification, and includes a module that covers the legal aspect and practicalities of safely transporting wheelchair users. The course is for both hackney carriages and private hire vehicles operating in the Wirral area, and reinforces the rule that all drivers must carry guide dogs at no extra cost. This has been the case in the Wirral area since the introduction of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Any complaints received by the council from the general public about these requirements not being adhered to properly have been quickly addressed, and the system has worked well for many years.

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, guide dog and wheelchair users cannot be refused access to taxis and other private hire vehicles. However, only the guide dog sections were ever brought into force, leaving many wheelchair users unable to use many taxi and private hire services, despite the wheelchair provisions being included in the Equality Act of 2010.

According to the legislation, a taxi must carry a passenger in their chair at no extra charge and “take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort”. Taxi drivers must also allow disabled passengers to ride in the passenger seat if they so wish, and transport the passengers wheelchair along with them at no extra charge, and give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.

Disability campaigners welcomed the news, but were also concerned about the enforcement of the rules, especially with regard to guide dog owners. Many disabled people with guide dogs have complained about them still being refused by some drivers.

With the laws now being tightened up, it is hoped that taxi drivers will realise they have a clear duty to assist passengers with guide dogs and wheelchairs, and making it a criminal offence to charge them extra for carrying wheelchairs or guide dogs.