Taxicard users in Richmond will continue to be able to ‘double swipe’ their cards after a decision by the borough’s cabinet to retain the benefit.
The Taxicard scheme, which is funded by local authorities and Transport for London and managed by London Councils, provides subsidised travel in taxis for people with serious mobility impairments.
Members of the scheme are issued with a card which can be ‘swiped’ by the taxi driver, reducing the cost of the journey for a limited number of journeys per year.
A number of boroughs have considered ending the practice of ‘double swiping’ which allows users to double the discounted distance they can travel.
Last week senior councillors decided to retain the double swipe facility.
Cllr Nicola Urquhart, Cabinet Member for Adults Services, Health and Housing at Richmond Council, said: “The double swipe is especially highly valued by users who may have little or no other way of affording taking longer journeys. Removing this option would be very limiting on how they live their lives.
“It is a priority for the Council that we listen and support what local people want and in this case we have done exactly that. Therefore we will not be scrapping the double card swipe as recommended.
“To ensure the scheme remains sustainable in the long term, we have had make some changes, including bringing in a small increase to the subsidised fare of £1 from £1.50 to £2.50 a journey.
“We have not increased this fare in 15 years, and this allows us to maintain the double swipe facility. We are aware that this is difficult in the current climate, but it is the only option to keep the scheme running.”
Taxicard holders in Richmond receive 104 subsidised journeys per year.