Members of Parliament will this Friday (18 November) debate a piece of legislation presented by Andrew Gwynne MP entitled Disability Equality Training Bill which, if successful will make it mandatory for all taxi license applicants to receive training on the rights of all disabled people as passengers.
The Bill aims to build on the Equality Act 2010 which sets in law that all disabled passengers must receive the same level of service as a non-disabled passengers. Unfortunately since the law was enacted the visually impaired who use guide dogs, as well as wheelchair users, are often completely ignored by a passing taxi, or charged double the rate for the same service.
Not only is this practise illegal, it is also confidence shattering and can have a massive impact on the lives and careers of countless individuals. Evidence from a study undertaken by the charity Guide Dogs showed that those who have an assistance dog are fifteen times more likely to be refused service than someone without.
To stop refusals happening, drivers need a full understanding of the rights of disabled people. The Bill will require all taxi and minicab drivers to undertake disability equality training as a condition of obtaining their licence.
Andrew Gwynne MP said:
“42% of people with assistance dogs have been refused access to taxi services over the past year, that’s why the law needs to change.
“It is completely unacceptable that someone would refuse to offer their taxi’s service because of a person’s disability.
“It is a fairly small change in the law that will have a huge impact on the ability of visually impaired and other disabled people to go about their business.”