Independent surveys of taxi drivers, wheelchair users, other disabled people and people who have mobility issues but would not identify themselves as being disabled, have begun in West Suffolk.
The surveys are part of a review agreed by Cabinet last year into its taxi policy handbook, specifically the clause covering Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs). The Council was recently presented with letters of concern by taxi drivers from across West Suffolk about this part of the policy and the Council is looking to work with drivers to improve communication between the trade and the licensing authority.
The two surveys are being conducted by independent consultants LVSA (Licensed Vehicle Survey and Assessment) to offer both drivers and those responding to the accessibility survey, which will be sent to a number of disability groups in West Suffolk as well as Age UK, the assurance of their anonymity when the results are fed back to the Council.
Both surveys will close on Monday 4 October at 5pm.
Jen Eves, Director responsible for Licensing at West Suffolk Council said: “This work is part of a review agreed last year by Cabinet. The information we will get back will help us to consider the demand for WAV hackney carriage vehicles across West Suffolk, ensuring that in the future our policy supports taxis to continue to provide as good and widely accessible a service as possible. LVSA will also be asking drivers for their views on how we should administer any future WAV policy to ensure that it is fair to all.
“In addition, and in line with West Suffolk Council’s own environmental target to become carbon neutral by 2030, we have instructed LVSA to ask drivers about what they perceive to be the barriers for them switching to electric vehicles. We already have some electric vehicles being driven by West Suffolk taxi drivers but we want to understand and hear from them about what we can do to help them provide more and develop a more environmentally friendly fleet in the future.”
There will be a further, full consultation on any policy changes in 2022, once the findings from this part of the review have been completed and all policy options considered. The taxi driver survey is being sent directly to all drivers using the email contact details they have supplied to the Council under their licensing agreement. Where we do not hold an email address, we will be writing to them at the address they have given to us.
People who use wheelchairs, other disabled people and people who have mobility issues but would not identify themselves as being disabled can take part in the survey at http://www.ctstraffic.co.uk/westsuffolkwavuser
The review will also take feedback from other users and interested parties, such as local businesses. They can take part by emailing their views to email@example.com
Anyone unable to respond online can write to West Suffolk Council WAV Review 2021, CTS Traffic and Transportation, Unit 14 Aqueduct Mill, Aqueduct Street PRESTON PR1 7JN or alternatively telephone and leave a message including contact details on 01772 251400.