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Frank Hovis

Is This Mad Or What? Disabled Rights

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Taxi firm in Middlesborough charges more for sending out an eight seater minibus than a car; this costs almost twice (mostly purchase price I would think) as much so is charged appropriately.

A disabled wheelchair user needs to use the minibus so gets charged for this.

The Council say that this is discrimination (when it clearly isn't) because disabled users are charged almost twice as much and have warned the firm.

Result: the firm will no longer take disabled passengers.

Um, lose-lose.

I thought there was some economic test, like a Grade I listed shop would not need to put in a disabled ramp because of cost. Or that you're not discriminating if the charge reflects the cost. Anybody know (Mr Miyagi)?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tees-25697433

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It's probably a minicab firm rather than a taxi firm. Taxis are metered.

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It's the only sensible option.

And small groups are exempt too.

The idea of having to put disabled friendly footpaths on a site for disabled access just isn't financially do-able for a small site. Probably not for a bigger site either.

I think its 26 members and then you have to.

Unless you show the costs are unreasonable.

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The big long distance buses round here all have disabled lifts in the front. I ride them a couple of times a month and in years of doing this I once saw them get the lift down for a wheelchair (pre-booked). After 30 mins of faffing the lift didn't work so the bus carried on 30 mins late leaving the wheelchair user stranded.

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I dont think it is discrimination in the sense one would normally use it.

If a random person calls for a taxi a car will likely turn up...99.9% of production cars have a door and a seat for the passenger, they dont have a lift, hoist, ramp, sliding door or false leg holder.

A person disabled might feel discriminated against, but there will be specialist firms that can handle the task with adapted vehicles, so there IS a service available, but not all can provide it.

In this case the dep mayor has told half the truth in defending the council:

Deputy mayor Dave Budd said companies "have a moral obligation to treat everybody the same".

his view is that companies should charge people the same for the same journey...he misses out that the firms are sending a vehicle and it is THAT that they are charging for, you order a minibus for 8 you pay for the minibus....whether 5 get in, 8 get in or 1 gets in.

Politics is a dirty dirty game of words and VI.

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I think it should be the obligation of the disabled person to arrange help to be placed into the ordinary taxi and have a collapsible wheel chair and arrange to have help to exit said taxi. This in itself would cost the operator money because of extra time involved but where do you go with this situation...Just how far do businesses have to go to follow equal opportunities laws.?

Sometimes it has to be said that life is unfair, and more unfair for some.

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I thought that the disabled received money specifically for these type of extra costs?

Or is the mobility component only for banks and car companies to skim?

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The Council are clearly idiots, and I am fed up of the militant disabled in much the same way as I am fed up with militant cyclists.

Interestingly on cruise ships they now offer a dialysis service for people with kidney problems. The passengers pay a fair whack for this this, but it allows them to travel where otherwise they couldn't. I don't see these people who need dialysis lining up and demanding it be offered for free to them as otherwise it is discrimination.

What next? Taxis with on board dialysis, iron lungs etc all for free?

This all part of the Council wanting to overreach it role in the usual socialist approach, and part of the "something for nothing" client state demanding it.

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I'm going to go against the consensus here and say that I side with the council. The taxi company's main cost is clearly the driver's wages; and so yes they incur an additional time cost loading and unloading the wheelchair user at each end, but I would have thought a relatively trivial one. There's a potential opportunity cost in that the 8-seater can't be used for a booking for a large party while it's transporting the one wheelchair user, but who knows what their actual utilisation rate is? And 8 seaters clearly don't cost twice as much to buy as a 5-seater saloon, nor do they use twice as much fuel- the premium in each case is probably no more than 25%.

At the end of the day I suppose it comes down to whether you think that wheelchair users should be entitled to enjoy the same freedom to travel as the rest of us, or not. I personally do think that, and so then the question comes down to who bears the cost. I'm personally fine with a relatively trivial amount of my tax money being given as grants to public transport operators, councils etc. etc. to make their facilities wheelchair friendly, but when it comes down to small scale cases like this the option is either to compel service providers to make arrangements for disabled customers at relatively trivial cost to themselves, or to have a complicated bureaucracy to try and compensate them piecemeal. I favour the former.

And I would say that really everyone should try to understand what a monumental pain in the **** it must be being reliant on a wheelchair to get around. One need only look at the current Tube map to see that vast swathes of the Tube network are inaccessible to wheelchair users, even in the above ground sections where it would presumably be fairly trivial to install lifts/ ramps in most cases. I'm pretty sure none of the Southern Rail / Southeastern overground stations near me are fully accessible either- in the case of Hither Green (and I reckon Lewisham) you could get on a train going into town but good luck coming back! :rolleyes: At the end of the day an accident can happen to anyone- if I broke my back in a motorcycle accident there would be absolutely no reason why I couldn't get an office job of some description, except for the fact that I'd have a massive task to actually get to work.

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I'm going to go against the consensus here and say that I side with the council. The taxi company's main cost is clearly the driver's wages; and so yes they incur an additional time cost loading and unloading the wheelchair user at each end, but I would have thought a relatively trivial one. There's a potential opportunity cost in that the 8-seater can't be used for a booking for a large party while it's transporting the one wheelchair user, but who knows what their actual utilisation rate is? And 8 seaters clearly don't cost twice as much to buy as a 5-seater saloon, nor do they use twice as much fuel- the premium in each case is probably no more than 25%.

At the end of the day I suppose it comes down to whether you think that wheelchair users should be entitled to enjoy the same freedom to travel as the rest of us, or not. I personally do think that, and so then the question comes down to who bears the cost. I'm personally fine with a relatively trivial amount of my tax money being given as grants to public transport operators, councils etc. etc. to make their facilities wheelchair friendly, but when it comes down to small scale cases like this the option is either to compel service providers to make arrangements for disabled customers at relatively trivial cost to themselves, or to have a complicated bureaucracy to try and compensate them piecemeal. I favour the former.

And I would say that really everyone should try to understand what a monumental pain in the **** it must be being reliant on a wheelchair to get around. One need only look at the current Tube map to see that vast swathes of the Tube network are inaccessible to wheelchair users, even in the above ground sections where it would presumably be fairly trivial to install lifts/ ramps in most cases. I'm pretty sure none of the Southern Rail / Southeastern overground stations near me are fully accessible either- in the case of Hither Green (and I reckon Lewisham) you could get on a train going into town but good luck coming back! :rolleyes: At the end of the day an accident can happen to anyone- if I broke my back in a motorcycle accident there would be absolutely no reason why I couldn't get an office job of some description, except for the fact that I'd have a massive task to actually get to work.

You're assuming that it's a trivial cost; if that were the case then the taxi firm wouldn't be bothered about it. They don't sound like they're refusing to take disabled customers to make a point but because they lose money on them. They are a taxi firm and not a public service.

I can't see anybody saying that a disabled person (which I agree could be any of us) should not have a decent quality of life. As per 7 year itch I thought the dsiability payments were partly set precisely to cover the additioanl costs that a disabled person will incur through being disabled. Which would IMO include paying more for a taxi fare because it costs the taxi company more.

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How much does the machinery to lift a chair user cost? How much does it cost to service? Is training required to use it

Does this detract from space inside the vehicle?

Minibuses are the ones who do the airport runs cos there's room for the luggage in them too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disability_Discrimination_Act_1995

Sometimes there may be no reasonable adjustment, and the outcome is that a disabled person is treated less favourably.

Black cabs have ramps that fit quickly and allow chairs to get in. A council could encourage their update by cab companies if they wanted to ensure there was transport. I don't know how common they are outside of big cities though - Manchester has a few.

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At the end of the day I suppose it comes down to whether you think that wheelchair users should be entitled to enjoy the same freedom to travel as the rest of us, or not.

I agree, and would be happy to pay 99% income tax in order to install a giant stannah stairlift that goes to the top of Everest so that wheelchair users - too long unfairly held back from the joys of mountain climbing - have the same freedom to climb mountains as the able bodied :)

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You have to draw a line somewhere. In my last job (a university lecturer) I argued against the institution's policy (imposed on my department) of ignoring SPAG errors in the written assessments of dyslexics, and for two reasons. 1- Because there is essentially no objective and reliable diagnostic test for dyslexia (i.e. someone who is poorly educated and/or unwilling to learn to read and write properly will display the same symptoms as someone who actually has it), such a policy risks letting a large number of fraudulent claimants the benefit of the doubt; but more importantly, if you are studying for a degree in a humanities subject, the chances are very high that you'll be applying for jobs in which the ability to produce a high standard of written English is an essential requirement. Therefore, to allow students to graduate who cannot achieve this is unfair to the students and damages the reputation of the institution awarding the degree.

The analogy I used to defend this position is that of the blind bus driver. An advocate of equal opportunities for disabled people might argue that a blind person should be allowed to drive a bus if (s)he wishes to do so, and that no effort or expense should be spared to help them achieve that aspiration. But when all is said and done, would you be willing to ride as a passenger on a bus driven by someone who cannot see?

In other words, the line has to be drawn somewhere, because on the other side of that line the cost to society of mitigating the problems faced by people with certain sorts of disability is just too high relative to the benefits it buys.

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I thought that the disabled received money specifically for these type of extra costs?

Or is the mobility component only for banks and car companies to skim?

This

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I'm going to go against the consensus here and say that I side with the council. The taxi company's main cost is clearly the driver's wages; and so yes they incur an additional time cost loading and unloading the wheelchair user at each end, but I would have thought a relatively trivial one. There's a potential opportunity cost in that the 8-seater can't be used for a booking for a large party while it's transporting the one wheelchair user, but who knows what their actual utilisation rate is? And 8 seaters clearly don't cost twice as much to buy as a 5-seater saloon, nor do they use twice as much fuel- the premium in each case is probably no more than 25%.

At the end of the day I suppose it comes down to whether you think that wheelchair users should be entitled to enjoy the same freedom to travel as the rest of us, or not. I personally do think that, and so then the question comes down to who bears the cost. I'm personally fine with a relatively trivial amount of my tax money being given as grants to public transport operators, councils etc. etc. to make their facilities wheelchair friendly, but when it comes down to small scale cases like this the option is either to compel service providers to make arrangements for disabled customers at relatively trivial cost to themselves, or to have a complicated bureaucracy to try and compensate them piecemeal. I favour the former.

And I would say that really everyone should try to understand what a monumental pain in the **** it must be being reliant on a wheelchair to get around. One need only look at the current Tube map to see that vast swathes of the Tube network are inaccessible to wheelchair users, even in the above ground sections where it would presumably be fairly trivial to install lifts/ ramps in most cases. I'm pretty sure none of the Southern Rail / Southeastern overground stations near me are fully accessible either- in the case of Hither Green (and I reckon Lewisham) you could get on a train going into town but good luck coming back! :rolleyes: At the end of the day an accident can happen to anyone- if I broke my back in a motorcycle accident there would be absolutely no reason why I couldn't get an office job of some description, except for the fact that I'd have a massive task to actually get to work.

I've done some work helping further education disabled students with mobility

Noone on this board doubts that some efforts should be made by the rest of us to ease the difficulties faced by the disabled

So please put away your straw man argument that since we do not support a taxi firm having to give away freebies it can't afford them that somehow means we do not wish to help the disabled

By the way, have you ever had a private sector job? Ever genuinely realized that you cannot simply reassign private wealth willy nilly otherwise you'll simply be putting a business and employees out of work?

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I've done some work helping further education disabled students with mobility

Noone on this board doubts that some efforts should be made by the rest of us to ease the difficulties faced by the disabled

So please put away your straw man argument that since we do not support a taxi firm having to give away freebies it can't afford them that somehow means we do not wish to help the disabled

By the way, have you ever had a private sector job? Ever genuinely realized that you cannot simply reassign private wealth willy nilly otherwise you'll simply be putting a business and employees out of work?

Actually, I do. I have crap eyesight but do not expect large print on all menus, etc etc. It is MY problem to pay more for/pay for equipment, etc etc.

My view on helping disabled/old/etc etc is charity and private sector solutions only. See my other thread where I am looking for a simple thermostat for some oldies. They will have to pay more for something that is ideal for them - that is right, and correct. Once you introduce the idea of gvt interference in this stuff, it ALWAYS gets taken too far and the majority suffer.

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I've done some work helping further education disabled students with mobility

Noone on this board doubts that some efforts should be made by the rest of us to ease the difficulties faced by the disabled

So please put away your straw man argument that since we do not support a taxi firm having to give away freebies it can't afford them that somehow means we do not wish to help the disabled

Bit harsh TBH- I only argued from the premise that wheelchair users should have the right to travel about as freely as able bodied people, within reason. You and everyone else are free to disagree with that premise, and I made no disparaging remarks about those who do.

By the way, have you ever had a private sector job?

Yes I have, in a shop. I also work for a private sector company now, albeit that in my sector of the business 99% of our revenue comes from TfL.

Ever genuinely realized that you cannot simply reassign private wealth willy nilly otherwise you'll simply be putting a business and employees out of work?

As I said, I am starting from the premise that, within reason, wheelchair users should be able to get about as freely as the able bodied, and by 'within reason' I mean around town, from their houses to their place of work, the shops, and leisure facilities like pubs and cinemas. I am not of course saying, as another poster suggested in what I would posit is a genuine straw man argument, that we should have a wheelchair lift next to every stile on the footpaths in our natural parks, or a Stannah stairlift up Everest etc. etc.

If you don't agree with that premise, then we are going to have to agree to disagree.

If you do agree with the premise, then the question becomes how one most efficiently allocates the additional costs involved in transporting wheelchair users. I don't personally reckon that the number of potential wheelchair taxi users is sufficient that being unable to charge them more would make a previously profitable minicab business unviable- but if it does then the answer would be to slightly increase the fares that everyone pays. The chap in the story may have the largest cab firm in Middlesbrough but he presumably has competitors who are bound by the same rules.

Others in this thread have questioned whether DLA is supposed to cover the additional expenses incurred by wheelchair users for things like taxi trips- but that 1) requires redistribution of wealth in the form of taxes to pay for it a 2) requires at least some civil servants to administer payments, resulting in further additional cost 3) is a pretty blunt instrument anyway- a wheelchair user who has a job that he can only get to and from in a minicab because he can't get his chair on a train or a bus is going to incur considerably more extra cost than a retired wheelchair user who only needs to get to the shops a couple of times a week.

So personally, I would rather pay 10% more for my minicab fare knowing that I'm subbing wheelchair users, than pay for a large government bureaucracy to redistribute the money they've taken off me in taxes. But I'm on here to learn, and if you've got a better system I'm all ears, just try and put me right without making baseless assumptions about my employment status etc. :rolleyes:

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This

I'm sure the banks and motor companies get their cut! Friend of mine is in a wheelchair, and gets a motability monster leased van with wheelchair lift. Result is person is able to get to work. Company makes small concessions like a dedicated (large) parking space.

So in this case, I reckon motabilty is a good thing. Working from home is not an option, since it involves clients.

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Bit harsh TBH- I only argued from the premise that wheelchair users should have the right to travel about as freely as able bodied people, within reason.

...

But the disabled wheelchair users were quite able to get round town before the council did its thing. They could call for a big minicab.

Now they can't.

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Taxi firms charge a set rate for mileage/ petrol. Larger Vehicles are not normally more expensive than smaller cars.

I have ocassionally been sent a minibus instead of car when I've ordered a taxi for myself, cost has not been much more. I work with adults with learning disabilities, we tend to do group activities and two cars cost twice as much as a single minibus. Nothing to do with access, we need larger vehicles for the numbers.

This firm appears to be doing something unusual so I think its right they are questioned.

AFAIK licensed taxi operators are allowed to charge a small surcharge if they have to physically assist you in to the vehicle, just as they can charge small amounts for bags/ shopping etc but its a couple of quid and these regs are set on a council by council basis.

Fairest way of doing it as far as I can see.

P

I've never seen you in my office! ;) Christ Almighty, I work in a loon bin! :o

Sensible post though! I should try some? ;)

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Bit harsh TBH- I only argued from the premise that wheelchair users should have the right to travel about as freely as able bodied people, within reason. You and everyone else are free to disagree with that premise, and I made no disparaging remarks about those who do.

what?

you have the same right as me to walk up Scafell Pike but I wouldn't suggest another private citizen should cough up money to buy you posh walking boots beause you get bunions

Please be quiet with your confusing speak about 'rights', you do not even make a convincing effort to understand what that means. What you mean are financial entitlements. On that basis you are being impolite in your haughty view that you somehow have a 'right' to take somebody else's money as if it has no further repercussions or moral cost.

You made the ofensive assertion that if I agree with the premise of basic rights for the disabled then I have to agree with the rest of your argument. This is deeply logically flawed not to say very lazy.

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Actually, I do. I have crap eyesight but do not expect large print on all menus, etc etc. It is MY problem to pay more for/pay for equipment, etc etc.

My view on helping disabled/old/etc etc is charity and private sector solutions only. See my other thread where I am looking for a simple thermostat for some oldies. They will have to pay more for something that is ideal for them - that is right, and correct. Once you introduce the idea of gvt interference in this stuff, it ALWAYS gets taken too far and the majority suffer.

Fair enough

One arguing gambit used by left wingers is along the lines of "if you are opposed to our method for helping X interest group then you must be opposed to helping X interest group completely"

Eg if you are opposed to a single centrally managed nhs then they argue that you somehow want ill poor people to die

In this case I am opposed to forcing a taxi firm to take on unmanageable costs for disabled mobility. I am not opposed to disabled mobility, but I have been told that I am.

I am more in your camp, but I apologize for over generalising :-)

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Bit harsh TBH- I only argued from the premise that wheelchair users should have the right to travel about as freely as able bodied people, within reason. You and everyone else are free to disagree with that premise, and I made no disparaging remarks about those who do.

They do have the right.

As I said, I am starting from the premise that, within reason, wheelchair users should be able to get about as freely as the able bodied, and by 'within reason' I mean around town, from their houses to their place of work, the shops, and leisure facilities like pubs and cinemas. I am not of course saying, as another poster suggested in what I would posit is a genuine straw man argument, that we should have a wheelchair lift next to every stile on the footpaths in our natural parks, or a Stannah stairlift up Everest etc. etc.

They can, can't they? Who said they couldn't? There are taxis available. It's not like he's telling wheelchair users to sod off.

If you do agree with the premise, then the question becomes how one most efficiently allocates the additional costs involved in transporting wheelchair users.

You're missing a step. The first question is do you think the additional cost should be borne by the user? It only becomes a question of how best to fleece someone else once you're of the opinion that someone else should pay.

I don't personally reckon that the number of potential wheelchair taxi users is sufficient that being unable to charge them more would make a previously profitable minicab business unviable- but if it does then the answer would be to slightly increase the fares that everyone pays. The chap in the story may have the largest cab firm in Middlesbrough but he presumably has competitors who are bound by the same rules.

Why shouldn't he be able to charge them more? I agree that wheelchair users have just as much right to get about as anyone else. They have as much right to an 8 seater taxi as I do. They also have the right to pay the same amount. Equality innit?

So personally, I would rather pay 10% more for my minicab fare knowing that I'm subbing wheelchair users, than pay for a large government bureaucracy to redistribute the money they've taken off me in taxes. But I'm on here to learn, and if you've got a better system I'm all ears, just try and put me right without making baseless assumptions about my employment status etc. :rolleyes:

Another fallacious argument. The question isn't DLA or charity. The question is that given they get additional money to pay for increased expense, should someone be forced to offer them charity (in the form of transport subsidised out of his own costs) on top?

The system is actually just fine as it is, as many pointed out. Wheelchair user gets a taxi, taxi firm gets paid. Where's the issue?

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Calm down folks, this is happening in Middlesbrough - the "Mos Eisley" of the North-East.

These are not the disabled-rights that you're looking for...

XYY

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