Updated: Feb 1
“Most places have their own local taxi company, but until now that’s been missing from the Balerno and Currie area,” says Kenny Roberts, a Balerno resident who along with his wife Helen and son Kenneth, has just set up Safe Hand Cabs.
“We’d been thinking about it for a while, but the final push was earlier this year when we’d waited outside the Playhouse in Edinburgh, in the rain, as three black cabs one after another refused to take us because of Dylan’s wheelchair,” explains Helen. “It’s become increasingly hard to get a decent taxi service if you’re a wheelchair user. It’s always a long wait, and too often even if they have a wheelchair badge, drivers won’t take us so we have to start again.”
So in the end they bit the bullet and decided to set up their own private hire business that would be genuinely accessible to all.
While their cars are fully wheelchair accessible - that was the main motivation behind setting up the business - Safe Hand Cabs is a general private hire company available to all, and Kenny and Helen are looking forward to helping local residents get around, be it trips into Edinburgh, the airport or locally in the villages.
While their cars are fully wheelchair accessible - that was the main motivation behind setting up the business - Safe Hand Cabs is a general private hire company available to all
The extra spacious boot has the advantage that it can fit a lot of suitcases! So for a family of four with all their luggage an airport drop-off is not a problem at all. “Our cars are the only private hire cabs on the road, as far as we know, with the particular wheelchair ramp system that we have. The ramps are built in and it takes seconds to load up. And when the wheelchair area is not in use, it’s a lot of luggage space.”
There is a very interactive, friendly, family feel to the service. “In our first few weeks it’s been primarily the network of families our son has grown up with and who all have the same frustrations with regular taxi services for wheelchair users. I know all about vulnerable young adults, having helped Dylan through that stage. If they want their music on full blast, that’s what we do!” says Kenny. Equally, he’ll help older residents on short local trips to and from the hairdresser or shops and is happy to carry shopping into the house and so on.
Kenny and Helen’s eldest son Kenneth is the other driver. There is a discount for elderly and disabled over a certain spend.
Safe Hand Cabs is a private hire company that needs to be pre-booked, generally a day ahead. Normal hours are up to 10pm, although with party season approaching they will be operating later hours - please call and pre-book in advance and check availability.
*Download the Safe Hand Cabs app from The App Store or Google Play Store
*Call 0131 440 4040
Published in Konect December 2019
Author: Helen-Jane Shearer