Transport for London have responded to pressure from Kingston’s Liberal Democrat Councillors and local campaigners to delay the cancellation of the Capital Call service in Kingston.
Capital Call is a complementary service to Taxicard which provides subsidised door-to-door transport for people with mobility issues living in London boroughs where there is a shortage of London taxis. On 28 January, it was announced that funding was being cut from the scheme in Kingston, and the service would cease in the borough with effect from 31 March 2009.
RBK’s Executive Member for Transport, Cllr Bob Steed said: “It was completely unacceptable for Transport for London to cancel Capital Call in Kingston without any consultation with the users of the service or the local Council. I can imagine that this sudden news would have caused distress to the elderly and disabled residents who rely on the registered minicab service as an affordable and reliable route to mobility and independence.”
Cllr Steed continued: “Working with local campaigners, the council launched an aggressive campaign against TfL’s decision. Today, I heard that they have bowed to pressure and agreed to delay the withdrawal from April to June 'at least', to give time for further discussion and consultation.”
Cllr Rolson Davies, Executive Member for Health and Adult Community Services: “Over the last ten months 270 Kingston residents have used Capital Call. It's a highly valued service for people with mobility problems.”
He added: “I am pleased that the PCO has given into pressure and extended the service to allow further consultation to take place. I urge local users and community groups to make their voices heard on this important issue.”
Liberal Democrat Cllr Mary Reid has been updating news of the Council campaign on her blog www.maryreid.org.uk: “I was shocked to hear that TfL would consider withdrawing such a greatly used and valued service from the borough.”
“Speaking with local campaigners such as Brian Gaff from Kingston Talking Newspaper, I understand that Capital Call has important advantages over the black cab Taxicard service. People can negotiate the time of the journey and arrange for a return pickup directly with the mini-cab company.”
“They also know before they start the journey how much it will cost, which is always a bit of a gamble in a normal taxi because the time is factored into the fare as well as the distance. Sometimes people found they had to pay out of pocket for the extra unexpected cost. With Capital Call the price and pickup times were agreed in advance.”
Cllr Reid said: “I welcome the extension of Capital Call in Kingston until June, and I hope this time will allow for proper consultation with the Council and local users. We will continue to campaign for TfL to reverse its decision on cancelling this much-loved service.”