Richmond – Hanworth
Often in London there is no end to end accessible public transport except buses, and sometimes even they aren’t available, especially as you enter the ‘burbs. So today I’m relying on private hire.
Interestingly the outward journey is straight forward. It’s only the return journey three hours later that’s worthy of note. The first problem is the driver couldn’t find us despite a SatNav, post code, street names, and an enormous sign. Fortunately it was sunny and warm, so waiting was no hardship, except of course that’s 45 minutes I’ll never get back. Would you wait that long for a taxi and be happy? As a wheelchair user it’s not uncommon.
When we eventually connected with the taxi we had some difficulty securing me and the chair for the journey. Every wheelchair had different anchor points and likewise, so do most of the ‘jockeys’. This isn’t understood by many of the companies who “train” their drivers in one method only. It’s also fair to say all the taxies seem to have a unique configuration of hook, straps and bolts, even the apparently otherwise identical ones.
These delays and problems were good for me because it made the driver extra helpful, and willing to talk. As a result I got a detailed breakdown of all of the company’s vehicles, including the new rear-loading Volkswagens. Next time we take a trip I’ll ask for one of these specifically and see if they’re more comfortable.
Addendum: As I’ve mentioned before this company charges a ‘vehicle surcharge’ for transporting wheelies like me. I thought it worthwhile to find out the surcharge of the various vehicles which, for your interest, is £15 for a Fiat Doblo or £20 for a VW Caddy. That’s on top of the journey fare remember, and a practise approved by TfL.