Disability travel concerns raised with MPs

Poor treatment of disabled people by bus drivers and private taxi firms has been highlighted at a meeting with MPs.

Members of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign's Trailblazers group met with the panel of MPs at Westminster.

They discussed disabled passengers' claims to have been stranded at bus stops and ignored by cab drivers.

Trailblazers project manager Bobby Ancil said: "I think it was important that MPs and transport providers heard our concerns."

"The meeting went well. We hope that bus and taxi companies will continue to work with us to improve things on an ongoing basis."

Darryl Cox, from the London Cab Drivers' Club, said no disabled passenger should have a problem with the capital's black taxis, which faced tougher regulations than private minicabs.

Fair standards

Trailblazers is a group for young disabled people which fights social injustices experienced by those with muscle disease.

One member of the group - Judith Merry, 22, a wheelchair user from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire - was left stranded at a bus stop late at night in a quiet part of London.

She and her mother had tried to get on a bus but after Ms Merry's mother boarded, but the driver pulled away instead of putting down the bus's ramp, claiming not to have seen her.

This case has been investigated by the bus operating company, which has apologised to Ms Merry and reprimanded the driver.

Mr Ancil said: "Disabled people have the same need to use buses and taxis as non-disabled people, to get to work, to get to appointments and to socialise with friends and family.

"Unfortunately, our public transport system and taxi companies have not moved forward enough to offer a basic service and fair standards to disabled passengers."

But Mr Cox said London's black cabs provided "the only taxi service in the whole of the western world that is wheelchair-accessible".

"It was an EU directive, but I travel quite extensively throughout Europe and I've never seen a wheelchair-accessible cab anywhere else.

"I really think he's barking up the wrong tree with us."

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