BRISTOL CITY Council has suspended three taxi drivers after they turned away a young girl in a wheelchair travelling with her mother.
Karen Tilley said she was left stranded with her 11 year old daughter Josselin after they tried to hail a cab home following a show at the Hippodrome in November 2017.
The Wiltshire mother and daughter went to the nearest cab rank to catch a Bristol Blue Hackney Carriage back to Temple Meads but were turned away three times by taxi drivers because Josselin was in a wheelchair.
Mrs Tilley uploaded photographs of the taxis on Facebook and the post quickly went viral around the city.
Bristol City Council’s public safety and protection committee investigated the incident and handed down the punishment after a closed-door meeting to the three un-named cabbies.
Two taxi drivers had their licences suspended for four months while a third received a six month suspension.
Mrs Tilley said:
I am pleased that the committee chose to punish these drivers. Not because I want to see them off the roads but because I would like this to be a lesson to other taxi drivers that they need to make sure they aren’t putting disabled people in the position that my daughter and I were put in. I just hope that this helps to raise awareness amongst taxi drivers about the need to be accessible to people with a disability.
Chair of the public safety committee, councillor Fiona Hance, said: “It is absolutely unacceptable that anyone should be turned away by a taxi driver because they use a wheelchair or indeed have any other disability.
“We require all our hackney carriage taxi drivers to use wheelchair accessible vehicles and it is their responsibility to know how to use their equipment properly when it comes to assisting a disabled person. There really is no excuse for turning someone away when they are in a wheelchair.
“In Bristol we pride ourselves on being an inclusive and accessible city that is an exciting and vibrant place to live and visit as a tourist destination for everyone.”