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Taxi Guide for TTF Bulletin

For some time now the DDS group has become increasingly concerned with the level of service some disabled people experience whilst trying to access and use taxies. Below is a document produced by City of Edinburgh Council regarding the code of conduct for taxi drivers.

The DDS group would urge anyone who has experienced any particular aspect of receiving an unsatisfactory service whilst trying to use a taxi service to complain and demand that the issue be resolved to your satisfaction.

Disabled people spend vast amounts of money every year on using taxis, indeed many taxi drivers earn a great living from taxicard work and the fares paid by disabled passengers. You have the right to expect fantastic customer service. If this does not happen, you also have the right to point out the reasons why the service was not right for you to your satisfaction.

If disabled people do not demand the highest standards from taxi drivers and operators, then you might just be left out in the cold even longer!

Let’s put a stop to hearing that the “ramps are broken”,” I hurt my back last night pushing one of you”, “but I’m getting a doctors line later”” nightshift left the ramps in the garage” “They did not tell me” “you’re a disabled person”

*Excluding drivers with a valid medical exemption certificate, this must be produced when requested to comply with licensing conditions.

If it’s a black taxi in Edinburgh they have to take the fare unless the driver has a valid reason not to, i.e. a person is intoxicated, is eating food, is being abusive.

A taxi complaint form is attached to this guide, if you require any help to use it please let me know, further copies can be picked up from reception in the Tudsbery building. Copies of Completed forms can be handed in to reception marked for attention DDS group TAXI..

Please have a read at this guide, if you need any help to make a complaint or to get the best out of using your local taxi company please let us know.

Best Wishes

Democracy Disability & Society Group


(Produced & published by The City Of Edinburgh Council)



There are two main types of service that people think of as `taxis'. Taxis are allowed to pick up people from taxi ranks or be hailed in the street, as well as be booked in advance. Private hire vehicles can only be booked in advance. In Edinburgh it is easy to tell the two types apart: all taxis are of the black cab type; private hire vehicles are saloon cars (including hatchbacks, estates and some small minibuses).

Edinburgh Airport taxis are mainly of the saloon car type. Some people find cabs easier to get into, others find ordinary cars easier.

Wheelchair Accessible Taxis

There are three types of black cab: the TX1, Metrocab and Fairway; all are equipped with telescopic ramps and special belts. There are a few differences between the three vehicles, but all enable the driver to push a wheelchair user into the vehicle and provide security for both your wheelchair and yourself, facing backwards. Each vehicle can carry only one wheelchair in this way, but there is still room for at least one other seated passenger.

Since January 1997, all taxis in Edinburgh must be equipped to carry a wheelchair user, as part of the licensing conditions. It would be wrong, however, to give the idea that all wheelchair users will be able to use these vehicles. For example, if you use a very wide wheelchair or one of the bigger electric wheelchairs, it may not be possible to get into the vehicle, turn to face backwards and be safely secured. For safety reasons, the driver would have to refuse to take you (their insurance could also be invalid). It is not, for example, safe to travel facing sideways as you and your wheelchair cannot be secured in this position.


There are many taxi and private hire companies and individual operators in Edinburgh. Consult the "Yellow Pages" for a full list. The following operators participate in the Taxicard Scheme.

Bluebird Private Hire 467 7770
Capital Castle* 228 2555
Central* 229 2468
City* 228 1211
Direct Cabs 444 1313
Dunedin Private Hire 229 6661
Festival City/Waverley* 220 3160 or 552 1777
Forth Private Hire 467 4646
Radiocabs* 225 9000 or 225 6736
Persevere Private Hire 552 2322 or 555 3377
Queensferry Fare Radio Cab (Cars) 331 1041

Please Note: The Democracy Disability & Society Group is not responsible for any of the Companies detailed above or the service they provide in any way*

These companies have taxis which accommodate people people sitting in wheelchairs. It is advisable to say you need one of those vehicles when booking, or if you have any other needs. Companies not marked * have four-door saloon cars.

The taxis which operate from the airport rank are all of the saloon or estate car type. Wheelchair accessible cabs can however take you to the airport and can be booked to bring you back.


Some drivers will offer considerable help to passengers; others will only provide the bare minimum. This is one of the major differences between taxi services and transport services such as Handicabs, Dial-A-Bus, and voluntary car schemes. These offer lots of assistance as part of their service.

The driver will need to help you into the vehicle using the ramps where appropriate, and secure you and your wheelchair using the belts provided. Drivers attend training sessions and should follow a Code of Practice.

The Code of Practice, as well as covering the use of the equipment in the vehicle, also recommends a consistent approach to charging. Here is a summary of the Code of Practice for Edinburgh taxi drivers:


Drivers are asked to observe the following recommendations:

  1. Safety
    1. It is always advisable to use the ramps provided with the vehicle for the safety and comfort of both wheelchair users and drivers, but essential when there is no kerb. Passengers must not be taken down the ramps facing forwards.
    2. The restraint system for the wheelchair and the safety belt for the wheelchair user must always be used. It is a licensing condition in Edinburgh that "the driver of a taxi shall assist wheelchair users into the vehicle using the ramps if necessary and shall ensure that they are properly secured before starting the journey".

      If the driver does not use the restraints provided, their insurance may be invalid.

    3. It follows on from the previous point that passengers should not be carried with the wheelchair facing sideways or forwards. It is not possible to restrain the wheelchair and occupant safely in these positions.
    4. If the wheelchair user and their wheelchair cannot be secured the driver should politely but firmly decline to take the passenger.
    5. Training sessions for drivers will be held. Once a driver knows how to operate the equipment it is quick and easy to use.
  2. Charging

    The following guidelines have been agreed to ensure a consistent approach which avoids confusion between passengers and drivers.

    1. The driver should only switch the meter on after they have announced their arrival to pick up the fare, as per standard licensing conditions.
    2. If the taxi has been ordered for a particular time, the meter should only be started from that time.
    3. The vehicle should be prepared for the wheelchair user, with the ramps put into place etc immediately after the driver has announced his/her arrival.
    4. The meter should be switched off as soon as the destination is reached, as per standard licensing conditions.
    5. No surcharge is allowed to be charged for carrying wheelchair users.*
    6. Receipts should always be given when requested.


Making a Complaint

All complaints are required in writing and therefore can not be taken over the telephone. It may be possible to take a complaint by email providing you supply your full name and address.

Contact Address

The Complaints Officer
Licensing Section
The City of Edinburgh Council
343 High Street
Edinburgh, EH1 1PW


Taxi & Private Hire Complaints

It is important to make a note of the date and time of the journey and the license number (displayed inside and outside the vehicle) otherwise it may not be possible for the Council to investigate your complaint.

Complaints Procedure

  1. A copy of the complainant's statement is sent to the Cab Inspector who will decide if the Police should be involved.
  2. The complainant will receive an acknowledgement letter detailing the complaint procedure.
  3. The vehicle's operator is contacted by letter and details of the driver concerned are requested.
  4. A copy of the complaint is forwarded to the driver responsible asking for his or her comments.
  5. The Taxi Examination Centre is contacted and asked whether they are aware of any other previous complaints against the driver.
  6. If there are no other named witnesses to the incident and there are no other complaints against the driver then it may be suggested that the complaint be kept on record and no further action taken.
  7. If there are other named witnesses, with contact details, they will be contacted with a copy of the complaint and asked for their comments.
  8. If there are other complaints against the driver, a senior solicitor and a Councillor will be consulted.
  9. If there are concerns regarding the nature of the complaint, a senior solicitor and a Councillor will be consulted. They may refer the case to the Regulatory Committee.

Any response from the driver (excluding personal details) will be forwarded to the complainant.

All complaints are held on record and may be referred to in the future.


Taxis are an important form of door-to-door transport, but their cost can deter many users. The City of Edinburgh Council runs a taxi concession scheme called Taxicard. The scheme is designed for disabled people who cannot use public transport buses and provides a discount of up to £3.00 per trip for a maximum of 104 single trips per year. Contact 0800 23 23 23 for details.

The DDS group hopes you find this information useful. If you need any further information on using this guide please contact us.

If you intend to use the complaints form designed by the DDS group and you are complaining directly to the licensing officer, it would be helpful to our group if you would consider letting us have a copy of your complaint.

If you request that we complain on your behalf we will off course require your taxi complaint form to help us. (“Enclosed” also Available at reception in the Tudsbery Building) We will of course make sure that you get notified of any responses received by the licensing officer or Taxi Company.

Your ideas & suggestions are always welcome.

The Democracy disability & Society Group works really hard campaigning for better access to goods and services for disabled people, we can only continue to do so with your help! So please help the Democracy Disability & Society Group Campaign for a inclusive society.