CAMPAIGNERS are calling for tough action against taxi drivers in East Renfrewshire who charged wheelchair users extra in fares.

A number of people who require support have reportedly been charged in excess of 50 per cent of a taxi fare on top of the normal price, for the use of wheelchair accessible vehicles.
And the incident has since been branded ‘shameful’ and ‘disgraceful’.

Councillor Caroline Bamforth, who represents Newton Mearns South and Eaglesham, told the Barrhead News: “I was told about issues with taxis in a closed Facebook group, so I encouraged those that were raising concerns to contact me directly and it was specifically about wheelchair access vehicles.

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“There were people being charged percentages extra and others were being charged an extra £5-£15 on top of their fare.

“After I was contacted by individuals, I then contacted East Renfrewshire Council and they told me that the actions of the taxi drivers contravenes the disability discrimination act and that it was not their policy.

“Going forward, if this happens to anyone else, I encourage them to contact me directly or get in touch with the council.

“This should never have happened, and this practice needs to stop.”

Cllr Bamforth confirmed that the taxi firm in question was approached by East Renfrewshire Council officers and the situation has been resolved.

Michael McEwan, chairman of East Renfrewshire Disability Action believes more action should be taken to raise awareness for people living with a disability.

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He said:“We have a taxi driver that has been helping us over the seven years that we have been campaigning against the problems that people have faced with taxi drivers. 

“I think this is disgraceful that this is happening, and it does in a way surprise me that it has happened so recently - it is like one step forward and two steps back.

“Taxi drivers should know better than this and clearly haven’t learned their lessons from the past. 

“I don’t know what else can be done. It is a human right to get out and about, but taxi drivers are almost using them for more money and it is just not right.”

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesman said that they will ‘investigate all reports’ and ‘take appropriate action' if required.