Wednesday, 13 March 2013


For a few years now my daughter has been taken to her various activities throughout the week by one taxi company.  While she was at college for two days a week, they used to assign one driver each week to cover the whole four days she was out and about.  They used to take turns because it was not a high-paying fare, it being funded by Social Services.  The drivers were all very nice and did their jobs well, but the time-keeping was never very satisfactory.  Sometimes this was unavoidable due to traffic, sometimes it was down to the office - on many occasion she was forgotten in the afternoons and I would recieve a frantic phone call from the placement she was at asking if I could find out what had happened to the taxi.  Not very good when you consider my daughter is a vulnerable adult.

Last year was the end of the college days, plus Social Services saw fit to change the Friday taxi run to another company in order to combine passengers and save a bit of money.  I was a bit dubious at first, but the new company have proved to be reliable, courteous, punctual and even escort my daughter to the front door upon her return.

The original taxi company however have deteriorated in their service considerably.  The times they have shown up late in the mornings of the two days remaining that she travels with them have increased.  She is supposed to be picked up at 8.30 a.m. - over the past weeks we have had pick-ups at past 9.00 a.m., with the excuse of 'traffic'.  Not only is this unacceptably late, it also begged the question as to how on earth can they run a company if their taxis turn up over half an hour late - if I was due to catch a flight, I would have changed taxi company very quickly!

I have spoken to the people at the taxi company's office on numerous occasions, explaining that not only is it upsetting for my daughter to be left waiting and then turn up at her placement very late, it also causes me to be very late getting to work.  As an LSA to a little boy with Downs, it is not acceptable for me to saunter up fifteen minutes late twice a week - plus I am not an unpunctual person, this stresses me out incredibly.  Every time I explain this and ask them to please try to be on time, I get empty assurances and things are fine for a couple of weeks until the next time.

I have informed Social Services of what is going on on many occasions over the years, and as far as I know, they deal with it as best they can as after each occasion the service improves for a while.

However, this week things reached a head and I am absolutely furious.  On Monday the taxi was late again, and by 8.55 I was on my second phone call to the company asking what the hell was going on.  During this conversation, I was told that: ' While she was at college we assigned a specific driver to her for the week, but now she only has two days with us, we tack her on to anyone who is free.'

What?  So as my daughter is disabled and funded by Social Services, therefore not a lucrative fare, you think it appropriate to just squeeze in her journey at 'roughly' the right time, it doesn't matter?  Would you do this for a 'normal' customer?

When the taxi arrived, I asked the driver what time he had been given to pick her up - he told me 'I wasn't given any time, I just saw that the trip hadn't been done and came along.'  So she hadn't even been assigned a driver on this particular day.

I do not blame the drivers, they go where they are sent.  I do, however, lay all the blame at the feet of the people in charge at the office.  How dare they treat my daughter with such contempt?

So, I have been in touch with Social Services, who were as outraged as me, particularly as they are funding this abysmal service.  Hopefully by this time tomorrow it will have been sorted out and we will get given a company who give a damn.

If you live in the area, the company concerned are based in Fleet and have a capital 'A' as a part of their name.  I would not recommend them.

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