Lib Dem Council plugs Taxicard black hole whilst saving ‘double swipe’

penny_shelton.jpgKingston council will be increasing their contribution to the Taxicard scheme from £41k to £391k over two years. This is to accommodate a reduction in Tfl funding of almost £300k at the same time as an expected increase in demand. The contribution changes are part of a package of reforms to the scheme agreed by the Council’s Executive on Tuesday 5 April, also including a commitment to maintain the ability for users to swipe the card twice for longer journeys.

Taxicard is a Londonwide scheme that subsidises taxi journeys for those people with limited mobility or who have difficulty using public transport. The scheme currently has 1800 members in Kingston but the council receives an average of 60 requests for application forms each month.

TfL has provided the lion’s share of the funding for this service in the past. However from 2012/13 this funding will dramatically decrease and boroughs will also be required to make a number of changes to be able to access extra funding. These include increasing the service user contribution by £1 from £1.50 to £2.50 and reducing the subsidies by £2 a trip.

In response to local demand the council have negotiated special permission for Kingston’s users to swipe their taxicard twice for one journey . This allows residents to make the longer journeys often required from an outer London borough.

Cllr Penny Shelton, Executive Member for Health Living and Adult Support said:

“We know how important this service is for many residents which is why we have agreed to increase the council’s contribution tenfold in order to fill the black hole left by TfL’s funding reductions.

I am also very pleased that we were able to secure the double swipe that our residents asked for, allowing longer journeys to be subsidised.

However the diminishing TfL funding together with a sharply rising demand for this service means that, even with our increased contribution, we will have to look at how we can guarantee a fair assessment of people’s need and ensure we are able to accommodate everyone who requires this service.”

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