A MAN who suffers from terminal spine cancer has claimed taxi companies discriminated against him because of his disability.

Mark Stewart, who has two metal plates in his back and is in a wheelchair, had to travel home from a wedding, laid down in the back seat of a friend's car, after the taxi firm who dropped him off couldn’t be contacted, and no other taxi company could provide him with a disabled cab.

The 50-year-old, of Shorey Bank Way, Darwen, said: “Last Friday my best mate got married and I was asked to be his best man, which I was really pleased with as it's been a tough four years for me due to my cancer diagnosis.

“I booked a disabled taxi, one that could fit my wheelchair in, to take me to the registrar, and then to the function, which was at Longshaw Working Men’s Club.”

Mr Stewart said that he asked the taxi driver if he could call once the function had ended so he could arrange a lift home to Darwen.

He said: “The driver said yes, but when I rang for the journey home, I got no answer.

“From 11pm to about 1.30am I phoned several taxi firms in Blackburn, Darwen and even Preston, but with no luck. Basically I was told that after 10pm no disabled taxis would be available.”

Mr Stewart, who only has months left to live, says he was trying to make memories with his friends, and finds it shocking that no company could provide a disabled taxi for him after 10pm.

He added: “It was the first time I’d been out in around three or four months and I felt humiliated and discriminated against because of my disability.

“What riled me about it, was that what they’re basically saying is that if you have a disability and want to go out and have a quality life, then you can’t because you have to be back home before 10pm. It’s wrong.”

Mr Stewart, who was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, said as a last resort, he asked a fellow wedding guest if he could have a lift home, but had to lie down in the back of the car as he couldn’t fit his wheelchair in.

He said: “I was scared. I’ve got two metal plates in my back but what else could I do.”

Malik Hassan from Rawal private hire said: “There is only me working for the company and I only have one vehicle.

“I picked the customer up to take him to the wedding and told him I would be available until around 7pm and then I would be going home.

“I can only work a certain number of hours in one day and as it was Ramadan, I needed time to rest and eat.

“As a private hire company, the customer should’ve called to book in advance with me, which he didn’t do.”