The concerned father of a disabled schoolgirl has branded the city council’s taxi service “absolutely disgusting” after claiming his daughter was left stranded in the cold for more than hour.
Broughton High School pupil Shannon Reiss has cerebral palsy and relies on an electric wheelchair for her mobility.
With dad, Aiden, working in Livingston, Shannon gets transport to and from school by a driver provided by Central Taxis through the city council.
But on Thursday night, Mr Reiss claims his daughter was left stranded waiting outside school for more than an hour waiting for her pre-booked taxi to arrive. He says this is the seventh occasion this academic year that the fifth year’s lift has not arrived on time, leaving her vulnerable.
Mr Reiss said: “In today’s society, anything can happen. I think it is absolutely disgusting. I work in Livingston so I can’t help. She had been outside for around 40 minutes on Thursday, no-one at the school reception and it was a tutor who noticed her sat outside in the cold and let her back in and phoned me to let me know she was OK. She didn’t get home until 6pm. Considering college finished at 4pm it’s utterly unacceptable.”
He claims his daughter’s education is being affected by the punctuality of Central Taxis after occasions when drivers have been late picking her up to take her to school.
He added: “It’s only a five to 10-minute drive down the road. I go to work at 6am and don’t get back until 5pm to 6pm. Shannon’s mum died earlier this year and so I’m essentially having to be mum and dad and have to provide for us both.
“My concern is who else is this happening to in Edinburgh? I want an apology and reassurances that this will not happen again.”
The council said there have been occasions when a taxi has arrived for Shannon, but she has not been at the designated pick-up point. On Thursday, Central Taxis say a driver arrived seven minutes early and waited 20 minutes for Shannon outside reception before leaving.
Tony Kenmuir, director of Central Taxis said: “We always endeavour to be on time. However, we live in the real world in a Capital city where there can be a number of reasons for one of our drivers being late. If anyone is kept waiting then I apologise. We always look at our service and we will see what we can do to improve.
“I am going to contact Mr Reiss directly and give him my details so if he has any issues in the future then he can call me.”
A City of Edinburgh Council spokesman said: “We are aware of the transport issues Shannon has been experiencing and have apologised. We have discussed with the family about giving Shannon her own pin number and are waiting for their response to this solution. The benefits include allowing her to track the booked transport if it was late, giving her control by changing her agreed pick up times and providing her with additional independence.”