Robert Buckland MP has tested his taxi hailing skills in a football-themed game with Guide Dogs. While trying to get a taxi to take guide dog owner Jacqueline to a football match, the MP for South Swindon heard about the problems some assistance dog owners face when being illegally refused by taxis and minicabs.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to take an assistance dog or to charge extra for carrying it. However, Guide Dogs research found that 42% of assistance dog owners have been turned away by a taxi or minicab in a one-year period because of their dog. The research also uncovered that 38% of assistance dog owners have been asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog.
Robert Buckland MP said: “We have licensed taxi drivers in Swindon who cater specifically for people with disabilities, which is great, but there is a national issue here that affects our residents when they go elsewhere too.
“It is important that taxi and minicab drivers receive disability equality training so they are aware of the law and how to assist their disabled customers in the right way.”
James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs commented: “Imagine you were turned away by a taxi driver for no reason. This happens to people living with sight loss with shocking regularity just because they are travelling with their guide dog. It’s not only illegal, it knocks people’s confidence and stops them doing the everyday things that most people take for granted.”