Barrhead man Chris Baird has launched a campaign aimed at ending the “ludicrous” lack of wheelchair-accessible taxis in the area, arguing East Renfrewshire Council has persistently failed to meet a basic social need.

As a disabled man he says he's waited years for the authority to address the fact that Barrhead has no taxis able to take a wheelchair, only to be fobbed off with explanations that he argues simply don't stand up.

Last year the council rejected the idea of a compulsory policy, but a report noted: “With only one taxi for the whole of Barrhead, Neilston and Uplawmoor it may be difficult to maintain a position that there no demand for more than one taxi to cover this area.”

But Chris – backed by East Renfrewshire Disability Action (ERDA) – says there now isn't a single vehicle able to accommodate anyone with a mobility impairment.

“It isn't just wheelchair users who are affected but many other people with walking difficulties or who are elderly and infirm – and, for that matter, mums with buggies.

“We have waited patiently for some kind of resolution to this outrageous situation, but we're getting nowhere – and we've had enough.

Trade representatives have said wheelchair-accessible taxis aren't economically viable for the average taxi driver, and that neither the council nor ERDA have demonstrated a demand.

However ERDA counters that disabled people - knowing the problem – no longer bother asking, and book taxis from Renfrewshire or Glasgow.

ERDA chairman Michael McEwan said: “It doesn't make sense to imagine that this is the only area in the country where there isn't any demand.

A council spokesperson told Barrhead News: "We have been working hard to encourage an increase in the number of wheelchair accessible taxis operating in East Renfrewshire and take this matter very seriously.

"To encourage more wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs) the licensing committee has introduced an increase in age limits.

"This means the vehicles can be used until they are 12 years' old and the first registration age has been increased to seven years for any new licences.

"In addition, the committee continued with the free licences for a further one year period.

"We will review the impact of this in twelve months to ensure that we see a significant increase of WAVs across East Renfrewshire.

"In the meantime we continue to explore any suggestions made to the council to further improve availability across both taxis and private hire vehicles."

But Mr McEwan says the authority has “kicked the issue into the long grass”.

He told Barrhead News: “They really don't seem to care. This totally unacceptable situation has been going on for three years, and all we get is the same record played over and over – they are not addressing the problem, and it's no use saying 'come back in a year and we'll see if things have improved then.

“That's been tried, it hasn't worked, and East Renfrewshire has to accept its residents are badly in need of a service