A DISABLED man who uses a wheelchair and battles with depression says he “has to think twice” before going out because of the amount of money he spends on cabs.

Wasif Bhatti, who lives in Danehurst Gardens in Redbridge, is demanding greater accessibility to minicabs and subsidised fares to make going out easier for disabled and elderly people.

The 39-year-old wants Redbridge Council to work with minicab firms in the borough to introduce the two swipes system, Capital Call and improve accessibility for wheelchair users and elderly people.

Capital Call is a subsidised minicab service for Taxicard members. The system operates in areas like Hounslow, Ealing and Lambeth. The two swipes system enables cheaper travel.

Mr Bhatti’s mental health suffers when he travels because of the prospect of paying large fares.

He said: “At the moment the meter’s going if you are stuck in traffic and it costs too much money. This is why I would prefer to have a fixed fare for minicabs.

“The current situation makes me feel dreadful. I am on low income and can’t go anywhere. I have to think twice before I go or not go out.

“It’s causing me a lot of stress. Every time I get in a cab I look at the meter and think hurry up, hurry up, hopefully the light will go green.”

Mr Bhatti, who receives £400 a month from disability benefit, added: “The council isn’t doing enough to help me because they are saving money. Extra money is sitting in reserve so why can’t they put it into the scheme? Other boroughs do it so why can’t they?”

At a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, February 6, Cllr Kam Rai, cabinet member for finance, said only £17 million of the council’s £160 million of reserves could in theory be used.

Mr Bhatti spends £36 going to and from Moorfields Hospital once every three-to-four months, £17 pounds going to and from Stratford to shop every two months and £8 to £9 seeing family and friends in Ilford Lane every two weeks.

The 39-year-old says: “Introducing these things would make a huge difference and save a lot of money. More people will go out and about. I suffer from depression which would improve if these things were in place.”

Mr Bhatti will now try to drum up support for his campaign and vowed to work with One Place East, a charity dedicated to helping disabled people, to further his cause.

The Guardian has contacted Redbridge Council for comment.