Earlier this year Disability rights campaigners welcomed changes to equality laws which mean Drivers can face fines of up to £1000 for discriminating against Disabled passengers, over 20 years after they were first included in legislation. However, TfA member Doug Paulley recently revealed on the One Show that the new regulations will still be unenforceable in many areas of the UK.
The regulations were finally introduced following recommendations from the House of Lords report into the equality act, and will be a big step forward for taxi access in areas where they are enforced. S167 and s165 give Local Authorities the power to fine the drivers of accessible taxis a maximum of £1000 if they refuse to carry a wheelchair user or charge them extra for a journey.
For the new regulations to be enforceable Local Authorities must produce a list of accessible taxis and private hire vehicles. Unfortunately, many Councils are ignoring Government guidance and failing to produce the lists needed to prosecute taxi drivers who discriminate against wheelchair users. This means that many wheelchair users will still not be protected by the legislation
The One Show revealed some shocking examples of discriminatory taxi services – sadly this is just the tip of the iceburg.
In the case of Assistance dog users any taxi or phv driver (except for those with health based exemptions) who refuses to carry or charges extra for an assistance dog is liable to be fined. TfL have successfully prosecuted 21 drivers for this offence since February 2015. If you would like help reporting a case like this then please contact our helpline on 02077372339.