London Councils' business plan makes transport access a priority


The umbrella body for the capital’s local authorities, London Councils, plans to focus on improving the day-to-day management of older and disabled persons’ Freedom Passes and Taxicards, under its business plan for 2015-16.

Listing Freedom Passes and door-to-door services like Taxicards and Dial-a-ride as priority areas, London Councils revealed it plans to work with Transport for London (TfL) and the boroughs to ‘deliver improvement and efficiency to these services’ this financial year.

Subject to consultation, London Councils is also considering charging for replacement Taxicards.

A London Councils spokesperson said: 'We would focus on minimising cost and enhancing customer service. Better use and sharing of data will lead to simpler, faster processes for card renewals, applications and eligibility checks. This will reduce administrative burdens and improve customer experience.

'London boroughs already charge for replacement Freedom Passes and this would bring Taxicard in line with this policy. Camden and Harrow already charge £10 for replacement Taxicards. There would be no charge to replace stolen Taxicards as long as a crime reference number is provided.

'Replacing faulty passes would initially be charged for but a refund would be given if the card was found to be faulty when tested.'

Mobility campaigners told Transport Network that enabling longer trips within the Taxicards and Dial-a-ride services is a priority, and needs more attention to ensure the independence of those who would otherwise be isolated at home. User groups called for the services to be streamlined and integrated across all London boroughs.

Lianna Etkind, campaign and outreach officer at Transport for All, said, ‘Taxicard is a lifeline for older and disabled people. In most boroughs, Taxicard users can ‘double-swipe’ which allows them to use two trips in one journey and travel further.

'Ten boroughs still do not allow Taxicard members to double swipe. We would like to see double swiping extended to all boroughs to give users more choice and freedom in where they can travel to.’

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