Submission of the Ombudsman - Small Passenger Services Sector Review

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The Office of the Ombudsman is concerned that the review has not given enough attention to issues of safety and disability (issues that are central to fitness and purpose), and focussed too heavily on accommodating and potentially aligning current taxi services with recently arrived and largely unregulated services, such as Uber. We are not aware whether disabled people had any significant involvement in the initial stages of the review, and recommend that they be involved in future discussions and decisions, in line with Articles 4 and 29 of the UN Convention.

At present, only Options One, Two and Five protect the rights of disabled passengers, with option Five affording the greatest protection. Until emerging technology and services have been fully tested in terms of promoting safety and accessibility, we do not believe that Options Three and Four (noting again that Option Four is the current preference) allow disabled people to travel with confidence and feel safe. Options Three and Four also overlook the Government’s responsibilities under the Convention and, if implemented, be a step backwards in protecting the rights of disabled people.

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