We must improve London’s door-to-door services

22 January 2015

A small, but absolutely essential, part of London’s public transport system is the door-to-door service for people with mobility problems. Dial-a-Ride, Taxicard, Capital Call, NHS Patient Transport and many other community transport providers operate throughout London - but users tell us the service is not always providing the transport they need when they need it.

One 89 year-old user of Dial-a-Ride, Joan, said;

You have to wait 15 minutes before you can call them to ask why your transport has not arrived. When I called, apparently it was two minutes too soon and I had to call back again. Then I was told that the taxi cab company could not find a taxi to send, but they would keep looking. By this time, it was dark and it was cold….

When you are in a wheelchair and you are totally dependent on these people who are coming to get you, it makes a big difference.

We could not any of us do without it. For many of us who really need it, it is a total lifeline…”

The London Assembly Transport Committee has made a formal submission to a Transport for London review of door-to-door services - ‘Improving door-to-door transport in London: Next steps’[1]. Our investigation has found more efficiency and integration is essential and some serious issues need to be urgently addressed.

Caroline Pidgeon AM, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee said;

“Getting around a vast city like London is hard enough as an able-bodied person – it’s even harder if you have mobility problems. We’ve had many complaints from door-to-door transport users about requests being refused, vehicles arriving late or not at all, and problems with getting through to call centres.

“As London’s population changes, TfL has no plan to increase services, Capital Call faces being closed, London Councils are underspending the Taxicard budget and NHS Patient Transport Services need an urgent review. Door-to-door transport is clearly in a mess and it needs some attention and improvement immediately.”

The Committee has made short, medium and long term recommendations to the Mayor and TfL. Some of the key findings include;

Dial-a-Ride performance has improved but is still below required levels and there has been no increase in efficiency.

An underspend in the Taxicard budget for the past two years; higher costs have been imposed on passengers and usage of the service is falling.

Capital Call service is facing closure by TfL, but as yet there is no clear plan for alleviating the effect of this.

NHS Patient Transport services are below expected standards in many parts of London, and need to be reviewed urgently.

Notes for Editors:

Read the report: ‘Improving door-to-door transport in London: Next steps’. (attached)

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, Chair of the Transport Committee, is available for interview – see contact details below.

London Assembly Transport Committee

As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4228. For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.

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