Disabled transport service could be cut in Merton
Disabled people in Merton could have their independence restricted if a vital transport service is cut.
Capital Call, a telephone service used by disabled people to book taxis and find out how much they would cost in advance, could be scrapped after a consultation into its future was launched on Friday.
Capital Call was set up to ‘plug the gap’of poor black cab availability through the Taxicard scheme in outer London areas including Merton.
The scheme costs Transport for London costs £470,000 a year which could be spent making improvements to the capital’s transport network.
Roy Benjamin, chairman of the Merton Centre for Independent Living is registered blind and uses the Capital Call system regularly for journeys at night because he said he does not feel able to use public transport after dark.
Mr Benjamin, 71, of Leamington Avenue, Morden said: "It will mean disabled people will be able to get out less.
"It isn't duplicating the Taxicard service it is an additional service.
"I use public transport in the day but a number of wheelchair users are not able to use public transport easily and this is something they rely on."
According to TfL, there are currently around 1,400 people who regularly use the service, compared to 10,000 that use Taxicard.
Garrett Emmerson, TfL surface transport chief operating officer, said: "This proposal reflects both changes to the subsidised travel schemes and the way in which people are using these services.
Significantly fewer people are now using Capital Call, which effectively duplicates the Taxicard scheme which now includes minicabs as well as taxis.
"Together, Taxicard and Dial-a-Ride would continue to ensure that mobility impaired Londoners have access to two services that ensure they can get around the city."
The public consultation on the future of Capital Call is available on the TfL website until Friday April, 11.
A decision will be made on the future of Capital Call on a borough by borough basis in summer 2014.
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