With a busy weekend ahead in Dublin there has been much talk about the availability of taxis across the capital. Whilst most of the talk has been surrounding travel to and from concerts, Pride or the GAA Quarter finals in Croke Park, Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA) believes there should be a more permanent solution in place which includes bringing other public transport solutions into the mix.

IWA is seriously opposed to the call from the Taxis for Ireland Coalition for the requirement of the Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV) requirement for newly registered Small Public Service Vehicles to be removed. Barriers to transport for people with disabilities continues to be a huge issue with many not able to get to work, school, medical appointments or social engagements.  John Fulham, Public Engagement Manager with Irish Wheelchair Association explains: “This is a significant issue for IWA’s members, many of whom are wheelchair users or have mobility issues. Using the pressure demands of one significantly busy weekend in the year to call for the removal of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle requirements further limits their transport options. Whilst we agree that Ireland needs to look at transport as a whole, which includes sufficient public transport options, the further reduction of availability of wheelchair assessable taxis would be a further exclusion of people with disabilities from society.”

Earlier this year, Irish Wheelchair Association launched their Getting Nowhere Report which highlights how Public transport and public spaces are difficult and dangerous to access for people with disabilities. Limiting their ability to access public transport.

“We would like to acknowledge that the Taxis for Ireland Coalition has reached out to us, just yesterday and we are planning to meet and hope to explore other solutions, says Joan Carthy, Advocacy Manager with Irish Wheelchair Association. “We need a public transport system that is fit for purpose.  One that runs late into the night at weekends that can be extended on busy weekends like this weekend.  Our Taxi industry will never be able to cater for this volume of people, but they need to be part of the overall transport solution and not seen as separate. Removing accessibility requirements will end up compounding the already unacceptable difficulties people with disabilities face.”