Have your say on a proposal to close the Capital Call service

Overview

Transport for London (TfL) is proposing that the Capital Call service, which supplements Taxicard in some boroughs, will be withdrawn from April 2015.  This consultation sets out the reasons behind our proposal and outlines how we will help existing Capital Call members to move to alternative door-to-door transport services.

Before making a final decision on whether to close the service we would like to know what users and other stakeholders think.  A decision will be made on the future of Capital Call on a borough by borough basis in summer 2014.

What is Capital Call?

There are currently two subsidised taxi and minicab door-to-door transport services for Londoners who are unable to use public transport due to a mobility impairment.  These are Taxicard and Capital Call.  Also available is TfL’s Dial-a-Ride service, which is free to the user, whilst the boroughs and NHS across London provide a range of statutory and non-statutory transport services

Taxicard, although a London boroughs’ scheme, is primarily funded by TfL.  It is available across London and provides a subsidy for qualifying members to take trips in taxis.  In some boroughs, there have historically been fewer taxis in operation than in other areas.  For this reason, in 2003 TfL introduced the Capital Call service, providing a subsidy for qualifying members to take trips in minicabs and supplementing Taxicard in those boroughs where fewer taxis operated.  These are the London boroughs of Bexley, Hounslow, Ealing, Lambeth, Enfield, Lewisham, Haringey, Merton, Hillingdon and Southwark. 

To be eligible for Capital Call, a user must already be a registered member of Taxicard.  Capital Call members can therefore use either or both services.

Why has TfL proposed that Capital Call be closed?

Taxicard is a very different service now than it was in 2003.  There is now no shortage of vehicles available to provide Taxicard services.  Taxicard works to an availability target: no fewer than 95 per cent of taxis requested by users must arrive within a maximum 15 minute window either side of the time requested by the user.  In the financial year 2013/14 (to October 2013) for example, Taxicard successfully booked 95.4 per cent of trips requested by users in those boroughs in which Capital Call operates.  In addition, following changes made in 2011, an increasing number of Taxicard trips are being made in minicab rather than by taxi.  As of October 2013, 16 per cent of Taxicard trips were made in minicabs.  Capital Call now duplicates the Taxicard service and is no longer necessary.

Capital Call is regularly used by around only 1,400 members across the 10 boroughs in which it operates, and the number of members is falling year-by-year.  In contrast, Taxicard is regularly used by over 10,000 members in those same 10 boroughs.  In every borough in which Capital Call operates, there are at least double the number of regular Taxicard users as there are Capital Call users.  In some of these boroughs, there are almost ten times as many regular Taxicard users.  The number of active members regularly using Capital Call and Taxicard, as well as the number trips made by these members in the 10 boroughs in which Capital Call operates, is set out in Table 1 below.  Capital Call is only available to a small number of people, and the use made of the service is dropping.

Capital Call will cost around £470,000 to operate in 2014/15.  By closing Capital Call, we can redirect this funding into TfL’s other transport services. We can use the funding to operate Capital Call to the benefit of a much greater number of people.

 

 

Capital Call

Taxicard

Borough

Active members

Trips during 2013/14*

Active members

Trips during 2013/14*

Bexley

137

1,508

378

7,346

Ealing

147

1,500

1,511

22,684

Enfield

147

1,690

375

4,452

Haringey

138

1,690

1,178

20,826

Hillingdon

83

910

310

4,490

Hounslow

154

1,723

957

17,510

Lambeth

141

1,499

1,248

23,732

Lewisham

180

1,937

1,118

28,718

Merton

101

749

1,238

18,452

Southwark

177

2,211

1,780

26,105

TOTAL

1,405

15,417

10,093

174,315

Table 1: No of members and trips made, Capital Call and Taxicard

* Please note that these figures were as of October 2013

How will TfL help affected Capital Call users?

It is necessary to be a member of Taxicard to be eligible to join Capital Call and by virtue of this Capital Call users are automatically eligible for TfL’s Dial-a-Ride service.

We are writing to every registered Capital Call member to explain our proposal and ask for their thoughts.  We have outlined what alternative door-to-door services would be available to them should we decide to close Capital Call.  We have provided information about TfL’s Travel Mentoring service, which aims to help disabled Londoners who want to use public transport but who do not feel confident enough to do so.  Finally we have explained how Capital Call members can contact us to discuss their situation, should they need to do so.

We would also like to hear your thoughts on what further steps, if any, we could take to help Capital Call members to move to other door-to-door services.

Will alternative door-to-door transport services be sufficient to meet the extra demand from Capital Call users?

Yes.  The use made of Capital Call is small compared to the use made of Taxicard and Dial-a-Ride.  In the year 2013/14 to October 2013, there were around 1,400 regular users of Capital Call in the 10 boroughs in which the service operates.  In contrast, there were around 16,000 regular Taxicard and Dial-a-Ride users in the same boroughs during the same time period.

Should we decide following this consultation to close Capital Call, we will monitor the performance and use made of Dial-a-Ride and Taxicard to ensure these services can accommodate the extra demand. 

Tell us your thoughts

Please tell us what you think about our proposal by completing our online form below by Friday 11 April 2014.

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Contact

Key Dates

Consultation is Closed

Ran from 21 Jan 2014 to 11 Apr 2014

Other Information

Areas:

  • Bexley,
  • Ealing,
  • Enfield,
  • Haringey,
  • Hillingdon,
  • Hounslow,
  • Lambeth,
  • Lewisham,
  • Merton,
  • Southwark

Audience:

  • Public,
  • Stakeholders

Interests:

  • Equality & Inclusion