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Call for improved numbers of accessible taxis in Inverness

There is a lack of accessible taxis in the north.
There is a lack of accessible taxis in the north.

An Inverness charity says its “phones have been going crazy” after introducing a wheelchair accessible taxi to its list of services.

Partnerships for Wellbeing said while its project was still at the pilot stage interest had been high as until now people in wheelchairs have been locked in at home due to a lack of taxis in the area.

A report on the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland on Thursday morning said there were only nine accessible wheelchair accessible taxis in the city, compared to the thousands available in the central belt.

Describing the response as incredible, Jeff Zycinski, of Partnerships for Wellbeing, said: “The response to our new wheelchair accessible vehicle has been absolutely amazing.

We've had a BBC News reporter asking what we're up to. Have a look at this sneak preview of our latest podcast to find out more. Also Nicola reveals why her sister thinks she's a lucky gambler, and Jeff does some celebrity name-dropping.

Posted by Partnerships for Wellbeing on Wednesday, 18 May 2022

“We are still at the pilot stage of this. We’re still training drivers to use the car and operate the ramp and winch.

“We are moving as fast as we can to get the car on the road as soon as possible. But we could always use more drivers.”

Demand for vehicles is high

“I don’t think we realised the scale of the demand for the vehicle.”

The BBC said there are only nine accessible vehicles licensed for use in Inverness. Shortages across the north have been raised by our readers.

Nicola MacKenzie, the charity’s community engagement officer, said: “People are locked down, they can not get out because there is not transport available for them, and it is just so heartbreaking. We have been inundated with calls.

“We are really desperate for more drivers. If you have any spare time at all – a morning, an afternoon a week every week, every other week please get in touch with us.

She continued: “We are getting quite a lot of pressure on our existing volunteers and with a third vehicle we need more support.”

While there are more than 1,400 accessible taxis in Glasgow, 1,300 in Edinburgh the numbers in the north are much lower – with only nine available in Inverness, and a total of 32 over the Highlands.

Partnerships for Wellbeing can be contacted by emailing jeff@p4w.org.uk or by calling 01463 729997.

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