It’s happened to me 30 times or more in 18 years of working with a guide dog – but no words can describe just how crushed and assaulted I felt this week when an Uber driver refused to carry me with my guide dog in Hertfordshire.
The law in England and Wales is completely clear.
It is a criminal offence for the driver of any private hire or hackney carriage vehicle to refuse to carry a disabled passenger because they are accompanied by an assistance dog. It’s covered in the Equality Act 2010. Drivers with allergies can apply for an exemption on medical grounds.
Similar provisions apply in Scotland, although prosecutions can only be made for licence breaches. It’s sad that such laws are even needed.
In my experience, the reason for refusals vary – mostly it’s down to a cultural misunderstanding about guide and assistance dogs – but in this case, I’ll never know precisely why the BMW driver, who is licensed by Wolverhampton city council, refused to accept my guide dog as he cancelled my job and drove off, leaving me miles from home and alone in the rain. I complained through the normal channels, but to date have never heard what, if any, action was taken. [475 comments]
[TOP RATED COMMENT 255 votes] …. Being a cab driver is a choice; being disabled isn’t. If you don’t like the legal obligations that being a cab driver places on you then don’t be one.
[2ND 151] “mostly it’s down to a cultural misunderstanding about guide and assistance dogs”
Are we allowed to expand on this?
[3RD 116] I’ll expand slightly, if not too controversial, on Radio 5 a while back they had a blind man who was muslim, he had big problems getting people to accept his dog because of the religious and cultural issues, eventually it seems he was starting to make some headway but for him and his wife it was very hard work. To break down these taboos we need to approach the issues in an adult and open manner, we also need to ensure that the laws in the UK are above any other laws or norms.
[4TH 140] ‘Cultural misunderstanding’ my foot. Unfortunately these groups think their religion overrides the law.
[5TH 134] Cultural misunderstanding? Shame we can’t talk about which culture is having problems understanding. [Guardian Cif] Read more