For many blind and disabled people, the use of a guide/assistance dogs are crucial to allowing them to navigate their way around towns and cities and thus giving them a level of independence. Recent statistics conducted by Guide Dogs UK says that three in every four guide dog owners say they have been refused access to taxis, hotels and even GP practices in the past twelve months. Despite public awareness efforts of assistance dog charities, owners of these animals are still frequently refused access, with taxi refusals extremely common.
The Law on this area is quite clear. Under the Equality Act 2010, guide dogs and other assistance dog owners are legally allowed access to businesses and premises. The law carves out a special section for taxi and private hire vehicles which states that a driver must carry a disabled person and their dog also without any extra charge for the dog. The only exception is that of medical exemption and this must be applied for and granted and in place to be able to justify a refusal.
Currently any taxi driver who breaks the law will incur a £1000 fine. Anyone with a private hire vehicle that refuses a guide dog can also potentially have their license revoked.
This area of law is there to protect the rights of the disabled. A Taxi driver and private hire driver must be made aware of how crucial the role of a guide/assistance dog is.
Our trained barristers are here to advise should you have faced any situation of this nature or need extra clarification and guidance on the law of what is expected of you a licensed taxi or private hire vehicle driver.