Wheelchair accessible taxi – catching a cab shouldn’t be this difficult

Wheelchair accessible taxi introduction

In Adelaide, catching a wheelchair accessible taxi is co-ordinated by Adelaide Access Taxis. Passengers that use mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and scooters make use of these vehicles that are fitted with hydraulic lifters. The drivers of each wheelchair accessible taxi have received training to ensure they provide a good service and they have a reputation for being punctual.

The Angels at the Adelaide Festival Centre

Band members of the Angels and I tried catching a wheelchair accessible taxi home after the concert and failed

Madie and I attended the Angels concert on Saturday 28th July 2018 at the Adelaide Festival Theatre. As parking is difficult and expensive in the city, I asked for a wheelchair accessible taxi to take us there and back home again. The cab turned up on time and delivered us to the front of the theatre on King William Street. The Angels and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra were fantastic, and as the concert finished, I received a phone call from the operator at Access Cabs. Apparently, the police were preventing the wheelchair accessible taxi from driving down King William Street to pick us up, due to an AFL game at Adelaide Oval. Around 45,000 Adelaide Crows and Melbourne Demon fans were leaving the ground, and only buses were permitted down the street.

As I am mobile and can move around quickly in my powered wheelchair, it was no problem for me to catch the taxi at another location. However, Madie is not able to walk long distances and may experience much pain if forced to do so. I travelled 500 metres up the hill towards the police officer and asked him why he stopped the access cab. He mentioned the football game, and that another wheelchair accessible taxi had already been permitted through the roadblock. I replied that it wasn’t my taxi, and people with limited mobility were waiting, that need access cabs to pick them up. I asked the police officer if he would allow access cabs to pick people up. He looked bored and unhelpful, and slouched over a sign, and said there was no room to send a cab. I replied ‘you’ve already sent one, so let me demonstrate how there is room for a cab, and please allow it through’. And I proceeded to zoom down the empty lane towards the Festival Theatre.

Madie and I waited for the wheelchair accessible taxi. The police officer continued to prevent access cab from picking up passengers with mobility restrictions from the Festival Theatre. My driver parked near Parliament house on North Terrace and walked to the Festival Theatre. Madie walked up the hill to the access cab, and I revisited the police officer, and he mentioned he didn’t have the authority to allow access cabs through. I didn’t think he was the brains of the operation. We loaded into the cab, and I waved goodbye to the officer.

Three issues on the night

  1. Pain. Madie experienced much pain the next day as a result of walking up the hill. I also have chronic pain, which increases during the day, and it took an extra 3/4 of an hour to get home. We shouldn’t experience pain because other organisations cannot work together
  2. Pickup and Drop-off points for access cabs. I booked the cab to take us to and from Festival Theatre, and the location of the dropoff and pickup is determined by the taxi driver and the access cabs organisation. They choose the KW street entrance, and the Festival Theatre site recommends the Riverside Drive. They should coordinate with each other.
  3. Misleading, inconsistent and uninterested policing. Why would the police officer allow one access cab through only? Why suggest the issue is a lack of room to send the cab when I clearly showed there was room? And why provide the actual reason when it was too late? Why so disinterested in the needs of the public?

I emailed many organisations to suggest there are better ways of doing things. I await to hear from Access Cabs, SA Police, Festival Theatre, Adelaide Council, and the Adelaide Oval Stadium Authority. A few months passed and I received a total of zero replies, which matched the effort of the police officer who blocked my taxi twice.

Click here for the accessibility issue I experienced with Ticketek.

Leave a Comment