Disability, My Life, Travel

Birmingham City Council Taxis – The Incident

I have had many issues with taxi drivers, but this was something else entirely.

Earlier this year, in May, on a Friday evening when Kate was still assisting me in my first year of university, I emerged out of Birmingham New Street station after travelling back from Leicester.

Coming out of the station, Kate and I approached a taxi rank which sat outside the station. The day was cold and blustery and I was tired.

The taxi driver in which we approached rolled down his window and clapping eyes on me, who was a few feet back from Kate, shook his head.

As I got closer, I heard Kate and the taxi driver in question having a very raised discussion about us getting into his taxi.

I stood at level with Kate as I wanted to ask him what the problem was with me getting in the taxi.

The driver refused to get out of his taxi and speak to me directly, he was very disrespectful. Instead he spoke to Kate as if I wasn’t there. The driver in question refused us entry, claiming that my chair could not fit due to the size of it.

When we pointed out that my wheelchair could fit in the taxi and I had travelled in these taxis, he began to get wound up and agitated.

We tried to convince him that my wheelchair could fit in the taxi if given the chance, but he kept coming up with any excuse why he could not allow us to board his taxis.

The drivers attitude was disgusting and he kept arguing with us every time.

Might I mention that his excuses were pointed at Kate, as if I wasn’t there or couldn’t communicate enough to speak to him properly or understand what he was saying.

‘The taxi isn’t a sufficient size for her chair’ ‘I do not have the adequate ramps for her wheelchair.’

‘She won’t be able to maneuver inside my taxi to make sure her rear is against the front of the taxi.’

Lies and lies again. The driver didn’t even give me the chance to try.

He made me feel embarrassed and humiliated, I wasn’t worth his time and the effort to get out of the driver side.

I was freezing and shattered from a long day at university. I felt degraded and humiliated.

I have had many issues with taxi drivers, but this was something else entirely.

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