I love clubbing. When I was at uni I used to go out twice a week and stay out until about 3 AM. It was brilliant, I had some really fun nights. Now that I have left uni I still go out clubbing, about once a week in Lincoln. However, all this frivolity comes at a price. And it’s quite a big price. To put it bluntly the transport I have to use to get back and forth cost a shitload of money.
Guess how much my ride to Lincoln cost on Saturday night? No, higher. Higher. Higher. If you guessed £93, then you are correct! That’s not a typo by the way. It actually was £93.
Ridiculously expensive just to go 8 miles. Why so expensive I hear you ask? Well, I guess because it was a minibus, and because it was in the middle of the night. But normal taxis would not charge that much to go the same distance at the same time. Not even close.
I’m not happy paying that much. But then again I don’t have much choice. Let’s look at the alternatives.
Are other companies cheaper? No. When I was at uni I used a Private company minibus to go 2 miles to a club and they charged me £70 for the pleasure (£35 each way). I have looked at others and they all have the same problem. All ridiculously overpriced.
So why use private companies? Why not just use normal taxis? Excellent questions, I’m glad you asked. Normal taxi companies DO have specialist wheelchair accessible vehicles, and I CAN fit in them in my powerchair. Just not at night, when I want them. It seems there is a lack of demand for wheelchair accessible vehicles at night, so they don’t make them available. Which is a pain, because they would be cheaper. About £70 cheaper!
To be fair, a private minibus does have its benefits. It is good if you want to guarantee that you have a ride home at the end of the night. I know that my chair will also be clamped down properly and I will be able to wear a seatbelt. You just have to pay A LOT more for the privilege of doing things correctly.
Black cabs are another alternative. They do have ramps that come out the side so that wheelchairs can use them. I’ve used these before. Trouble is I have to sit in them sideways, without a seatbelt, and without being clamped down. It’s illegal. Not to mention dangerous.
I used black cabs a lot when I was at uni to come back from clubs at three in the morning. I didn’t have a choice. It was either that or pay £35 for the minibus. Oh and the cabs only charge me £8 for the same distance.
So that is the choice I am faced with if I want to go out at night. I can either have a safe and reliable ride there and back, but it will leave a gaping hole in my finances. Alternatively I can go for the cab, which is cheaper, but more illegal and more dangerous.
I’m lucky, I can afford to pay for the private minibus. But a lot of people would not be able to pay £93 every time they want to go out. It’s ridiculously expensive and there needs to be cheaper, accessible transport made available at night. Most people can just jump in a cab when they come out of the club and be on their way. If only it was that simple for wheelchair users. At the end of the day I love going clubbing, so I am willing to pay a lot to be able to go. Otherwise I’d just be sat at home. So in my mind it’s worth it, even if it is slightly extortionate.