Many taxi drivers still turning away assistance dog owners - The Stratford Observer

Many taxi drivers still turning away assistance dog owners

Stratford Editorial 5th Dec, 2016   0

NEARLY half of all assistance dog owners have had to battle taxi drivers who are flouting the law.

It is illegal for someone to be turned away by a taxi or minicab driver because they have a guide dog – but six in ten owners say they have had such an experience in the past year. In comparison only three per cent of people without a dog were turned away by drivers according to a YouGov survey.

Guide dog owners also reported being asked to pay an extra fare, and many said they felt they had received a second-class service even when a driver did agree to take them with their dog.

Guide Dogs campaign manager James White said: “Imagine you were turned away by a taxi driver or asked to pay an extra fare, for no good reason. Despite legal protection, this regularly happens to people living with sight loss because they are travelling with a guide dog.

“This discrimination is not only illegal, it knocks people’s confidence and can stop them doing the everyday things that most people take for granted.”

Under the Equality Act it is illegal for taxi and minicabs to refuse to carry a guide dog unless they have a medical exemption certificate.

A Private Members Bill debate was recently held in parliament. It could lead to all taxi drivers being required to take part In disability equality training.

Mr White added: “We would like to see the law changed and training introduced for all taxi and minicab drivers to help them understand the law and how to welcome assistance dog owners.”

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