Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hailo: Wheelchair Taxis



Last night, I was ordering a taxi on my Hailo app. I normally do not tick the 'Wheelchair Accessible' option because I can transfer from chair to car without assistance but I decided to try it out this time because I had surgery on my foot and needed to "take it easy".

In Hailo, if you click into Account and then Options, you can say yes or no to a Wheelchair Accessible taxi.

In my mind, this would mean a taxi with a ramp as that is specifically wheelchair adapted whereas most cars - if their boot is big enough - can physically take a wheelchair without any adaptions made.

A car arrived a few minutes later and it was a regular car. I didn't mind because I could still hop in and out without without putting too much pressure on my foot but, funnily, the taxi driver asked me if he was correct in describing his car as wheelchair accessible. It was his first time putting that as an option and my first time ticking it as an option so we were as clueless as each other.

When he ticked it, he meant that he would take wheelchair users and would help in anyway that he can. However, he was conflicted because if someone couldn't get out of their chair, they would have to wait for another taxi to come along that was properly accessible.

What I want to know is: Should Hailo go into more details about wheelchair accessibility on their app?

My driver didn't know what to do because he noted that some drivers would point blank refuse to take wheelchair users (something I have unfortunately experienced myself) so he wanted people to know that he would take them no matter what.

What have your experiences with wheelchair accessible taxis been like and how do you think Hailo should describe it?



UPDATE (2 December '13):
Hailo got back to me on the matter and - by their definition - when a taxi drivers chooses the option of 'wheelchair accessible', the taxi should have the following:

Hold a wheelchair SPSV license
Have an appropriate ramp or lift
Have all wheelchair restraints
Have the wheelchair symbol on their roofsign

They also stated:

Hailo prides itself on its ability to provide the four major cities of Ireland with a well stocked fleet of both wheelchair and non-wheelchair accessible taxis, with a current fleet of 129 wheelchair accessible taxis, the largest of its kind in the country. 
We are currently reviewing our own internal processes, with an audit conducted this morning to ensure that drivers that list their vehicle as 'wheelchair accessible', hold a fully updated SPSV License which asserts this fact.  
Hailo currently favours wheelchair users when ordering a cab, extending the typical radius for cab allocation, this extension offers our wheelchair users the greatest possible opportunity to receive a Hailo cab. 

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