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School transport had no child locks on taxi

(57 Posts)
PipinJo Tue 09-Oct-12 15:55:37

My ds 8 has ASD travels to school in school transport (self employed taxi with taxi company). This was an issues from day one in the taxi where no name, route etc was explained prior to the first day which resulted in my ds anxiously vomiting several times. My ds since, has wretched daily and frequently vomits every day due to taxi being late. The LA have been challenged and refuse to do anything about it!

Day one I asked taxi driver did he have childlocks on taxi. He said he did.
I only started to notice last week he puts his had through the window to open taxi door from inside? I asked taxi driver yesterday 'How can you open the door from the inside if you have childlocks on the taxi?' He relpied 'I don't have childlocks!' shock
Taxi driver rushed in taxi and drove off! Left me standing their shock

I contacted school transport and the man has been very rude winding me up saying 'are you accussing the taxi driver of lying' and 'this is the taxi driver's liviehood' and 'I will have to ask the other parents are they happy first to change the taxi!!' At which I was shock as my ds life at risk here due to no danger awareness and would out of fear (scaered of flies, creepy crawlies etc) would jump out of taxi. Other dc is in senoir school and no danger awareness as now sits in front of taxi due to the 2 dc not getting on! My elderly mother had to do 2 bus trips yesterday to pick ds up from school.

I was told taxi driver could 'deadbolt' car by pressing button but this could be forgotten due to human error ie dropping other dc off forget to press button again and considering taxi always late the man is always rushing to do 2 impossible picks through an extremely busy city!

I have refused to allow my ds back in the taxi as can't take the risk, therfore ds home at presentn (from today) as I can't do the 11 mile trip each way until Monday due to sudden change and other forseen circumstances.

Is their a law on childlocks for dc esp vuln with behaviour/disability that could result in throwing themselves out of moving taxi etc so needed in this type of transportation?

NatashaBee Tue 09-Oct-12 16:06:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

littleducks Tue 09-Oct-12 16:12:49

I have a deadbolt thing on my car, I find it very effective, you can tell if it is on or off from drivers seat (versus having to open door to view childlock) I would have thought human error would be more likely with childlocks turned off at weekends or for other taxi jobs and not reactivated

PipinJo Tue 09-Oct-12 18:00:47

Thanks for replies. Nat school refusing to get involved as ind and told it is school transport/parent problem. But no risk assessment otherwise I am sure they would have given ds escourt as needs FT 1:1 in school I can't leave ds and esp not in back of car moving OMG!!!
Wonder if you got same car littleducks? The doors unlock too when the driver brakes! My car has locking button system...I would forget it too! Hence rely on child locks. Also taxi driver looked shock when I said ds could jump out of taxi and never mentioned the deadbolt there and then...this was a after thought after I brought up about ds escaping...but I had no reason to bring it up for 6 weeks as I was told on day 1 the taxi had child locks! angry

CuddlyTeach Tue 09-Oct-12 22:14:25

Hi pip. Hope your ok? My car has the deadlock thing and automatically comes on when I drive over 20 mph. Maybe the taxi has that? So your da sits in the back if the taxi and other child sits in the front? Is that even legal? Surely the other ds shouldn't be allowed to sit in the front of the taxi. Has the other ds got an SEN? So what is happening to your ds now pip? The schools hands are tied as they are independent and they have no pull with an LEA run service. The only way the school can step in is if the transport is issued by the school. Our school has our own mini buses and that's the only mode of transport we offer.

PipinJo Wed 10-Oct-12 09:00:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bunbaker Wed 10-Oct-12 09:06:21

I think in general having child locks on in taxis might be considered a health and safety issue when transporting adults around. I would hate to think I was stuck in a taxi on my own with a driver I felt uncomfortable with and couldn't open the door.

It is easy enough to flick the switch on and off for child locks in modern cars so I don't see why the driver can't just put them on while transporting your son.

Are there no other taxi firms you could use instead?

cestlavielife Wed 10-Oct-12 11:02:31

who pays the taxi?
if LA then you need to raise the concern with LA

PipinJo Wed 10-Oct-12 11:07:09

Sorry withdrew message above as said ds name.

Bun if ds had an escourt in first place childlocks would not be needed even! All saving money!

LA go with that taxi firm, contract with them. The taxi is old so not like these modern day cars, I think an S reg or even older?

Also their is a plastic sheild up between taxi driver and back of taxi, not that taxi driver could stop ds as the gap between ds seat and taxi in front you would need arms as long as Mr Tickle! The huge gap is for wheelchairs etc

Cuuddly other pupil ? no danger issues I guess otherwise parents would not allow to sit in front. School wrote lovely letter saying ds is never late.

Lucky Occupational Therapist wittnessed ds being late other day on her visit and will write it in her report.

CuddlyTeach Wed 10-Oct-12 14:09:04

Im sure that having a child in the front of a taxi without a parent is a big no no. You should check that as that could be a huge help to you. Also go along the lines of your ds is being excluded as the other child sits in front and the plastic barriers stops interaction. He may aswell be in a taxi alone. Do your ds and the other ds get along? The school are tied pip as they can't really do a lot. Is your ds late for registration? I'f he's not then its not really a lateness issue that you can push for. So is your ds in school now?

cestlavielife Wed 10-Oct-12 15:02:46

so he goes in taxi wihtout an escort?
why is there no escort?

PipinJo Wed 10-Oct-12 18:57:55

sorry cest I missed your question. LA pay for taxi.
I don't know why there is no escort with taxi.
It was all arranged so fast last year as I was struck down with bad flu and could not take ds to school. I informed ds Disability SW who said 'Why hasn't ds got taxi?' So SW arranged one straight away contacting LA. I guess SW forgot to ask for escort or because she doesn't know my ds and doesn't realise his needs. But it was ok last year as the taxi driver was very good and had child locks on.
This taxi doesn't have child locks on and the door doesn't open from the outside so something wrong with the taxi door?

Bunbaker Wed 10-Oct-12 18:59:46

"This taxi doesn't have child locks on and the door doesn't open from the outside so something wrong with the taxi door?"

This is so wrong and bringing up red flags for me.

CuddlyTeach Wed 10-Oct-12 19:45:35

I think you need to go back to your SW and get them on the case. If they arranged the transport it's his or her responsibility to make sure it is arranged to the "nth" degree. The taxi surely needs to pass health and safety checks? Ask for a copy if the latest mot that will tell u everything that was/is wrong with the vehicle. Your SW should be fighting this tooth and nail for you. And you said on an earlier post that your ds is not in school and rightly so. Keep him off until this is sorted and stick to your guns, do not allow him in an unsafe taxi! I know he may well want to be in school but you would rather him alive and well and missing a week or 2 of school than dead due to a shoddy vehicle that is supposed to be transporting him safely.

PipinJo Wed 10-Oct-12 20:34:06

Also I am worried say God forbid in accident the taxi driver was knocked out and could not speak and they needed to get ds out fast...they would not be able to open door of taxi and not realise they could open window of taxi from outside and open then doorhandle on inside iygwim.

I was thinking of doing the 1 hour each way return trip (rush hour city centre school 4 hours a day for me 2 hours for ds..can't use bus/taxi lane to cut the time like taxi did). Or should I keep ds home longer?

CuddlyTeach Wed 10-Oct-12 20:55:00

You are spot on Pip. I bet the SW or taxi company havnt thought of things like the but as a parent it's our job too. If we don't look after our children, you can be sure that no one else will.
In all honesty pip I would keep him at home........ Your car is off road isn't it, it was in an accident (wink wink)? You have no way other than public transport to get him to and from school and that's not viable due to times and distance etc. if you give in now and take your ds the taxi company can turn around and say you can do it full time and they will make it harder for you to get what your ds needs. You need to emphasise how much you rely on this taxi service and therefore it needs to be a watertight operation that runs with precision. Do you see what I mean?

PipinJo Wed 10-Oct-12 21:17:35

Cuddly..I was thinking of getting ds ready in morning and when taxi pulls up go out with ds and video me on mobile trying to open the door...then video taxidriver opening door (hand through window) then ask him why does taxi door not open from outside? Video the answer?

If door not working as it should I imagine the deadbolt lock might not work either?

Yes going to keep ds off for rest of week.
I might contact the police too about the taxi?

CuddlyTeach Wed 10-Oct-12 21:44:48

I wouldn't film just in case there may be some sort of rules regarding it etc and it then may be inadmissable for your cause. Keep going with the no child locks or safety procedure thus putting your ds in danger. You hit the nail on the head with the accident example. That to me is enough to pull him out of the taxi. You live in a busy city the road traffic accident statistics are high enough in safe modern cars let alone un reliable in road worthy vehicles. The police would be more beneficial than filming I think personally. Have you asked your ds about the taxi ride? Is the driver a safe driver?

PipinJo Wed 10-Oct-12 22:19:49

Ds has said he is a bit frightened as taxidriver drives a bit fast.

Ok Cuddly I wont video, thanks.

Shall I contact police as school transport are not interested in no child locks so I guess not interested rear door does not open from outside. I have looked up this car on internet and it says these cars have childlocks in rear doors! hmm

CuddlyTeach Wed 10-Oct-12 22:31:06

Use that evidence aswell that your ds is frightened due to speed limits being exceeded. Use the school in a positive way and ask them to make a note of the times ds has arrived the past few weeks and u note what time he left home then work out times and say its impossible or unlikely that driver could get from a to b in x ammount of time unless speeding/ driving recklessly. Definately the police as they can check the taxi and see if its road worthy. The police regularly stop road users in unsatisfactory vehicles, it constitutes a fine and points. Have the taxi company said that they will re arrange something else for your ds ?

PipinJo Wed 10-Oct-12 22:40:21

Thanks Cuddly, school been recording arrival time on his planner and I have been recording time leaving home. Last Friday it took taxi driver 15 minutes to get to the school 8.30am left my home...height of rush hour traffic! He flew off in rush and I was going to phone SW re my concerns then...I said to taxi driver 'that was quock how did you get ds to school so fast?' and he said 'the bus lanes were empty with no buses all the way (after 1.5 miles the rest for taxi is bus lanes)...but their are loads of traffic lights too at least 12 I can think of! They must have all been green as usually takes taxi driver 30-40 minutes to get in on an average morning!

No school transport are saying taxi driver can use his 'deadbolt' button to ensure ds is safe in taxi. How can I be 100% sure he will? I can't? Then I have the What if the car caught fire and a passer by tries to open door to get ds out and it doesn't opensad

CuddlyTeach Wed 10-Oct-12 22:44:55

There's no way on this earth there were no busses in a big city at that time. I live in a small town and we have 7 busses through our town every hour!! No way is taxi driver telling truth.
You need to contact your SW and scream from the rooftops all of your worries and your ds worries and use everything you have told us here to te SW. The SW arranged the initial transport they now need to sort it out. What has your SW said exactly?

PipinJo Wed 10-Oct-12 22:54:06

I told SW on Monday re taxi. She said she will look into it and get back to me. When I said ds will jump out of taxi SW said 'would ds do that?' so proves SW has not a clue re ds safety awareness v anxiety with fly in taxi! SW said give me 24 hrs and I will get back to you tomorrow (at this point I had not said keeping ds off school as phoned SW at 9am straight after I found out taxi had no child locks. I phoned SW Tuesday and I was told SW is on a course for the rest of the week! So if SW knew course Tues-Fri why say would phone me Tuesday. I have been phoning SW line manager Tues x 2 and Wed x 2 and each time told they will email manager to phone me as in meetings each time. So not for my lack of trying to inform SS!

CuddlyTeach Wed 10-Oct-12 23:01:25

Keep trying that's all I can suggest pip there. And police ASAP tomorrow. Your child's life is at risk and you trust someone u don't know with his life each day. You need to know he's safe. Keep him off this week and dot back down to the school transport. Ask school for work for ds so he won't fall behind. Let me know what happens tomorrow regarding police etc. will cross everything for u and ds pip :-) hugs x

littleducks Wed 10-Oct-12 23:03:17

I think the door not opening from the outside us a far bigger deal than childlocks not being present. There are other ways to lock the door, not being able to open it from the outside in an emergency would really concern me.

I would contact the council. Not the school transport dept, but the dept that licenses the taxi and explain your concerns that the vehicle is not maintained properly.

I do wonder if the driver is just fobbing you off though. Why don't you take ds to the car and open the door yourself and have a look. See if And how it opens, is the central locking just on? Or is the door broken?Childlocks are usually on the door rim. See if they are they and put them on yourself.

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