Dundee private hire firm to take on Taxicard scheme for disabled people

George Scullion of Scottish Blue Minibus hire which is taking over the Taxicard scheme which offers a discount to disabled people.

A Dundee private hire company has come to the rescue after Dundee City Council announced plans to axe taxi discounts for disabled people.

Scottish Blue Ltd has announced that they will take over the Taxicard Scheme, which entitles service users to money off taxi journeys.

They will give Taxicard scheme holders £1 off journeys on Scot Blue minibuses, which cost £5 and mainly take passengers to hospital appointments.

The council has pledged to reinvest  £50,000 of the savings that they’ll make from cutting the discount into alternative provision with their own fleet of vehicles.

George Scullion, managing director of Scottish Blue, said: “We have spoken to the council about taking over the Taxicard Scheme.

“We  have a scheme called Easy-On, which transports people to hospital appointments and has been taken up by a variety of people and community groups.

“Everyone that has an existing card will be given a £1 discount.

“We had been looking at doing this for a while, while waiting for confirmation from the council about their plans.

“We knew that they were having problems with funds to run it.

“Our service runs from Monday to Friday, between 9.30am and 8pm and we can take up to eight people on board.

“I don’t know how that will all tie in with the council’s plans with their own minibuses, but hopefully the two schemes can work together.”

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander previously explained that changing the transport options would “provide a better all round service”.

The council will stop funding the Taxicard Scheme from March 31.

Councillor Alexander added: “The taxicard scheme provided a discount to users of £2 per taxi journey.

“However, the reality is that over time the value of this discount has become less as taxi charges have increased.

“Importantly, the proposal agreed by committee was to reinvest £50k saved from ceasing Taxicard to deliver new transport services via the council’s minibus fleet.

“We want to provide a better all round service that delivers new transport options for the public — whether that’s looking at models of demand-led transport or transport related to medical appointments.

“We are now in an improved position to operate a not for profit bus service by using out in-house fleet and spending taxpayers money more wisely.”