THERE are fewer wheelchair-accessible taxis and private hire vehicles available in Redditch than before the pandemic, new figures show.

Experts suggest the decrease in the number of licensed vehicles accessible for those with mobility difficulties in England and Wales is due to a lack of training and certification for the safe handling and transport of wheelchairs.

Department for Transport figures show Redditch had 453 licensed vehicles as of April, but only 26 could be used by people with mobility difficulties.

That is a decline from March 2020, when there were 35.

Traditional taxis can be hailed from the street, and do not need to be pre-booked like private hire vehicles, such as those used by companies like Uber.

There were 186 taxis in Redditch, three of which were wheelchair accessible.

There are 267 minicabs in Redditch, 23 of which can offer a ride to a wheelchair user.