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Disabled woman's taxi anger

PUBLISHED: 22:17 30 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:16 24 August 2010

by Ian Cooper A disabled woman who claims she was left stranded twice by a taxi firm has branded the service useless. Arthritis sufferer Kate O Shea, of Brassey Road, Kilburn, claims she was left loitering for four hours outside a hotel i

by Ian Cooper

A disabled woman who claims she was left stranded twice by a taxi firm has branded the service useless.

Arthritis sufferer Kate O'Shea, of Brassey Road, Kilburn, claims she was left loitering for four hours outside a hotel in north London by Computer Cab Plc, part of the Taxicard service.

When a taxi eventually showed up, Mrs O'Shea, pictured, a wheelchair user, claims she was fobbed off.

She said she was disgusted by her treatment, adding: "It's absurd. What makes me angry is that people in vulnerable positions so often get taken advantage of."

The first incident last month was followed by a second last week when Mrs O'Shea was forced to wait almost an hour at the Royal Albert Hall, after a taxi scheduled to take her home failed to arrive.

The company eventually conceded they had no idea where the taxi was and sent a replacement.

Mrs O'Shea added that on both occasions she had given the firm at least five hours notice. She said: "It's all very well telling elderly and disabled people to get out into the community, but when you run the risk of being abandoned by the services you should be able to trust, your contribution to the community becomes almost nil."

The Taxicard system is a door to door transport service offering subsidised travel to people with mobility difficulties.

The 24-hour system scheme currently has around 77,000 London members, and is paid for by participating London borough councils and the Mayor of London.

Phil Malpas, of Computer Cab Plc customer services, said: "The Taxicard system depends on driver availability across the area, if no driver is available locally then the spread is widened across London.

"We try to keep in contact with customers to keep them informed as to where their taxi is.

"It is possible that on this occasion there was a communication error, perhaps a problem with the system.

"There have been one or two problems with the system over the years, and we are hopefully going to introduce a new system some time this year which will cut out these issues and improve customer services.

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