‘Bob Dylan’ call handler leaves disabled Wigan borough ex-cop stranded by the roadside

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A disabled ex-police officer claims he was left high and dry by a taxi firm which then cruelly mocked him when he complained.

Bosses have investigated the complaint and say they have no idea who John Shaw could have spoken to – and also dispute some of what happened.

Mr Shaw, a retired detective sergeant, was left disabled by complications from Covid. The 68-year-old now has walking difficulties and usually only goes out accompanied.

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On this occasion he had a dental appointment a mile and a half away from his Ashton home which would be his first trip alone.

Disabled pensioner John Shaw, 68, from Ashton-in-Makerfield is angry and upset after a local taxi company failed to pick him up.Disabled pensioner John Shaw, 68, from Ashton-in-Makerfield is angry and upset after a local taxi company failed to pick him up.
Disabled pensioner John Shaw, 68, from Ashton-in-Makerfield is angry and upset after a local taxi company failed to pick him up.
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He says he booked a return journey with Britannia Taxis, and while he was taken to his destination, problems arose with the return journey.

Mr Shaw said: "The driver could see I was disabled and I asked would he also collect me? He said he was finishing but they knew that once my appointment was complete I needed to be returned home. He said ‘when you come out please call the office and they’ll collect you.;

"I duly called at 4.30pm to be told ‘we’ve no cars.’ I called again at 4.50 to hear the same. I explained I had booked a return journey and my disability, to no avail.

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"So I called Liverpool HQ. It was answered by a gentleman who showed no interest when I requested speaking to the shift manager. He refused to tell who that was and when I asked for his own name, he refused.

"Then he said ‘OK, I will give you my name: it's Bob,’ I said and your surname Bob? he replied ‘Dylan’ followed by bursts of laughter from within the office."

Mr Shaw added: "I had no alternative but to walk home taking me an hour and 15 minutes, with members of the public asking if I was OK. Halfway back I could nothing but cry with each step.

"This was my first trip out unaccompanied in three years and it has knocked my confidence and nerves to bits."

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But Britannia spokesman Dan Yates said: “On May 3 when Mr Shaw placed his booking he states that he booked in a return journey from Boutique Dental.

"After listening to the call logs I can confirm he did not place a return booking as he was unsure what time he would finish at the dentist and said he would ring for a taxi when out.

Mr Yates then confirmed the ‘we have no car responses’ and advice for an alternative means home.

He added: “Mr Shaw mentioned he saw a Britannia vehicle driving back and forth but there is every chance that this vehicle in question was not logged in and working at the time.”

With regard to the Dylan complaint, Mr Yates said: "When searching the logs against Mr Shaw’s contact number to find this call I had no luck. The only calls were his initial booking call followed by other booking requests and a couple where he asks for management.

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“He asked me if this call could have been deleted but only senior management have access to the call logs and no logs can be ever deleted.

"Mr Shaw described the person to be young male with a Liverpudlian accent but again the only males we have answering phones with Liverpudlian accents all work night shifts.

"I did check the staff rota for the day shift staff on that day call but the operators and assistants where all female and none of the males had matching accents.

“I believe I have done my utmost best to find the culprit after spending well over a day’s work working solely on this case.

"Unfortunately for both Mr Shaw and myself I am unable to find the person responsible or even if the phone conversation with Britannia exists.”