A Caithness man has expressed “disgust” at the treatment experienced by a group of passengers who were refused entry to wheelchair-accessible taxis at Aberdeen Airport last weekend.
But Hugh Millar is concerned that the scale of the problem extends far beyond the north-east of Scotland.
And he told the Press and Journal about some of the issues which have affected his daughter, Stephanie, 45, who has cerebral palsy and uses a walking frame to help her travel around Edinburgh.
He said: “I was shocked and disgusted to read about the six taxis at Aberdeen Airport that refused to take a person in a wheelchair into town.
“People with disabilities have a hard enough time with their lives without suffering discrimination from taxi drivers.
“Stephanie has found herself in situations where she has been stuck in Edinburgh city centre for two to three hours because she can’t get a taxi to stop and it is horrible.
“We are always hearing about initiatives to make our communities safer, but this flies in the face of that.
“Nowadays, she will not go on a night out, unless she has made transport arrangements before she goes out, but that means you have no flexibility if things change during the evening.
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“And there have been too many times where, if she tries to flag down a black cab, they usually pull in, see the walking frame, and swiftly drive off.
“Unfortunately, because this happens so quickly, it is often not easy to get the number of these taxis.”
Mr Millar believes that cabbies who behave in this fashion should not only have their licence revoked, but be subject to prosecution under the Disability Discrimation Act.
But he added it wasn’t just taxis where there were problems for people with disability and mobility issues.
He said: “Stephanie does a lot of travelling by train and, at night, there is often nobody to help her get out when she reaches her station.
“It just makes things more difficult than they should be in modern Scotland.”
A prominent, wheelchair-using Inverness councillor said yesterday he has given up on taxis, because of the “attitude of drivers” and the small number of suitable cabs for people with disabilities.
Andrew Jarvie, the leader of the Conservative group at Highland Council, revealed there were just six wheelchair-accessible vehicles in the city.
He has urged the local authority to sort out the problems this is causing.
Mr Jarvie told the Press and Journal: “Being able to get out-and-about is a fairly basic right and if you cannot drive, taxis and buses are absolutely essential.
“There is a common misconception that having wheelchair-accessible taxis is restrictive, but the reality is that most people have travelled in one and not even noticed.
“For me, the biggest concern remains the attitude of far too many drivers.
“It’s their attitude more than anything which has made me give up on taxis and not drink out in town unless I am staying in a hotel.
“I can get in and out of a car just fine, but too often taxis are parked too far away from the kerb.
“Every time I have taken a taxi from a rank, there has either been reluctance or refusal to take me because I can’t get into the taxi at the front.”
The issue has surfaced in recent days with Aberdeen City Council launching an investigation after complaints from would-be passengers getting refused entry to wheelchair-accessible cabs.
Mr Jarvie is convinced steps need to be taken to improve the provision of such vehicles throughout the Highlands.
He said: “The council really needs to get on and create a new policy for more accessible taxis and it has a duty under the Equality Act.
“Most other councils have done this by now, but unfortunately, even with a much older population, this is still a lingering issue.
“More accessible taxis isn’t just about wheelchair users as they can be much easier for people who use walking frames or sticks as well.”