Nearly one in five journeys carrying assistance dogs are refused by private hire drivers according to a mystery shopping operation conducted by Transport for London. Since July 2018 the capital’s regulators have carried out 54 mystery shop minicab journeys with assistance dogs. Of those test journeys the regulators found that 10 drivers refused to take dogs despite their legal obligation to do so. All ten of the private hire drivers were referred for prosecution and their operators notified immediately.
TfL officials carried out the operation using a team of officers and a visually-impaired passenger with their dog. On each occasion the team rang an operator to order a minicab and were considered compliant if they picked up the passenger and their assistance dog. On the ten occasions of non-compliance, the officers asked the driver to pull over and referred their details for prosecution.
The operation is set to will continue at least once a month going forward. There are a number of different types of assistance dogs ranging from the instantly recognisable Guide Dogs to the Dog for Good who assist passengers with physical disabilities or children with autism.