Disabled Hainault woman feeling ‘frightened and unsafe’ after problems with minicabs for Taxicard scheme

Linda Jones and her mum Evelyn, 89, who says she can't use the new Taxicard cars

Linda Jones and her mum Evelyn, 89, who says she can't use the new Taxicard cars - Credit: Archant

An 89-year-old woman says she is being prevented from leaving her Hainault home due to unsuitable transport, which has left her feeling “frightened” and “unsafe”.

Evelyn Jones, of Tudor Crescent, regularly used her Taxicard – a discounted travel service for people with serious mobility impairment – until recently after private hire vehicles (PHVs) were introduced.

The scheme, run by London Councils and funded by Transport for London, included PHVs three months ago. But many users struggle to get into normal cars.

Evelyn’s daughter, Linda, 62, said: “My mother has rheumatism and gout in both her legs and is unable to bend her knees. She can’t really walk unaided.

“Low-down minicabs really cause her, like many of her friends, a problem – she just can’t get in.

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“She is used to getting picked up in black cabs which she recognises and trusts and are designed for those with mobility problems. She feels safe in them.”

People who are unable to use PHVs are told to inform Taxicard so they can be included on an “exclusion list”, which Mrs Jones has done.

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Linda added: “I have informed them but it hasn’t made a difference.

“It is just so wrong to ask an elderly or infirm person to try to get in a car that isn’t suitable. It is preventing her from going out.

“My mother feels frightened when using private taxis as police are always warning them just to use black cabs.”

Janet Poole, 66, of New North Road, Hainault, has suffered the same problem.

She said: “I think it is ridiculous to ask those with mobility issues to use cars that aren’t suitable.

“I have a mobility scooter, and like many, need help when using transport – which many private cab drivers are not used to dealing with.”

A spokesman for London Councils said: “It is a contractual requirement of the scheme to increase the number of vehicles available to members and to reduce the cost of travel. We provide our contractor with details of any members who can travel in either a taxi only, a PHV vehicle only or both, therefore safeguarding individuals’ needs.”

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