Wheelchair Accessibility of London’s Taxis (Black Cabs)  

This review of the wheelchair accessibility of London’s Taxis is from Summer 2023.

All of London’s extensive Black Cab taxi fleet is wheelchair accessible. You read that correctly–ALL OF THEM! There are hundreds of cabs, and they go all over London.  They are not cheap, but they are helpful when public transportation (buses or metro) is not a good option (or has already failed you, such as by several buses passing you by because they are carrying baby strollers). 

The easiest way to call them is to use the Black Cab app, which has an option for calling a taxi and noting you need the ramp.  The taxi driver will then meet you, and open the side door. The driver will then pull the manual ramp out from under the floor of the cab. The cab does not have a hydraulic system, so the angle of the ramp varies based on the height of the curb—it can be pretty steep, but usually manageable.  I could then drive my scooter up the ramp and into the side of the cab. There was not sufficient room to turn around, so I had to ride sideways to the motion of the car (i.e., facing the side windows rather than the windshield).  There also were spots for tiedowns to mount to the floor of the taxi, but none of the taxis had tiedowns. 

The comfort and safety of the ride depended on the driver, and varied greatly. Most of our rides were pretty smooth, with the driver taking turns slowly and not weaving through traffic. However, I had a few drivers who opted to go through backroads, which were full of sharp turns, rough/cobblestone streets, and speed bumps. This bounced me around quite a bit, and one ride gave me a substantial headache from jostling my neck and back so much.  Some drivers were amenable to requests to go slower, but not all. 

Moreover, the streets of London are very congested.  Walking/scooting is often a faster and easier option, especially in the more touristy areas.  And many of the sightseeing areas are clustered together, so you can see numerous sites without having to call for a taxi or other transportation. 

Overall, it was fantastic to have the option to take taxis, and so the wheelchair accessibility of London’s taxis is higher than most cities.  But the rides could be wild at times, were expensive, and wait times could be considerable (especially to/from tourist areas). 

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