Limited wheelchair accessible taxis or private hire vehicles in Cheshire East and West

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MORE than seven in 10 taxis and private hire vehicles in Cheshire West and Chester, and more than four in five in Cheshire East, cannot be used by people in wheelchairs, figures reveal.

With just one in seven vehicles across England and Wales suitably equipped, disability charity Scope said everyday inequality is rife.

Department for Transport figures show 1,182 vehicles were licensed to operate in Cheshire West and Chester at the end of March – but just 329 (28 per cent) could be used by those in wheelchairs.

Of the 305 traditional taxis which can be hailed from the street, all were wheelchair accessible.

But just 24 (three per cent) of the area’s 877 private hire vehicles, which need to be pre-booked, offered the same service.

Meanwhile, 669 vehicles were licensed to operate in Cheshire East at the end of March – but just 101 (15 per cent) could be used by those in wheelchairs.

Of the 415 traditional taxis which can be hailed from the street, only 74 (18 per cent) were wheelchair accessible.

And just 27 (11 per cent) of the area’s 254 private hire vehicles offered the same service.

Across England, just two per cent of private hire vehicles, such as those available through Uber, can fit a wheelchair in them.

Though the proportion of taxis or hackney carriages which can do the same is much higher, it fell from 57 per cent to 54 per cent over the last year.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “Our National Disability Strategy will drive forward new laws to ensure disabled people get the right help in taxis and private hire vehicles.

“All councils should be using existing powers to provide enough wheelchair accessible vehicles and ensuring all drivers are trained to support every disabled passenger.”