Equality for disabled passengers wishing to use taxis and private hire vehicles is the focus of a consultation launched today by the Isle of Man Government.
The Equality Act 2017 places an obligation on private hire vehicles to carry disabled passengers and their assistance dogs, subject to exemptions.
Proposed changes, contained within the Road Traffic Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2020, aim to broaden its scope to include ply-for-hire taxis and create legal powers to establish regulations around accessibility.
The regulations being brought forward will place obligations on drivers of designated wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and could include:
- giving assistance to wheelchair users to get into or out of a designated wheelchair-accessible vehicle
- transporting a wheelchair if the passenger wishes to sit in a passenger seat
- making no additional charge for carrying a wheelchair user
- the carriage of assistance dogs accompanying their disabled owners
Ply-for-hire and private hire drivers will be able to apply for an exemption to these obligations, subject to certain conditions.
The Department of Infrastructure is seeking the views of the public on the proposals, in particular disabled service users, and private and ply-for-hire taxi service providers.
The consultation is the first in a series planned over the coming months concerning public transport services, and includes an open question towards the end to enable respondents to raise any issues that concern them.
The consultation document is available to view on the Government website and may also be downloaded electronically from consult.gov.im
Alternatively, written comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Sian Christian, Central Support & Change Division, Department of Infrastructure, Sea Terminal, Douglas, IM1 2RF.
The process will run for 10 weeks and conclude on Monday 15 February 2021.