Guernsey wheelchair users ‘feel like second-class citizens’ due to lack of accessible taxis

  • Serena Sanduh reports..

Wheelchair users in Guernsey feel they are being treated like "second-class citizens" on the island due to a lack of accessible taxis.

Many charities are having to find funding for their own transport instead of using the limited wheelchair-adapted transport services.

Currently, Guernsey has six specially adapted taxis after a quarter of licenses were handed back to the states, but with an island of 1,200 wheelchair users, people are demanding change.

Steven Wall, who says that accessible taxis are a lifeline to him, said: "It means sometimes when you are supposed to be attending a meeting in person, you end up doing it online which is alright from a technical point of view but isn't the same.

"You want to be able to get out, do what you want to do, go where you want to go when you want to do it."

He added he feels the community is treated like "second-class citizens". Taxi owner Peter Leigh, who spent £10,000 getting his taxi specially adapted, said: "It's very hard to get an accessible taxi at the moment, and there are many reasons for that, you have to take a disability test which has absolutely nothing to do with taxis."

Islanders say they are becoming reliant on The Ron Short Centre which has its own minibuses.

Rosemary Ferbrache says if she didn't have the service she would "be stuck at home doing nothing, stuck in my room 24 hours a day then".

The manager of the centre, Tim Feak said: "It's extremely difficult, it is one of the major challenges for people with disabilities on the island.

"You can have all the best activities and services laid on but if people can't get to them physically then there is no point in any of that."

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