The Government remains ‘committed’ to introducing mandatory disability awareness training for taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers.
Under the Equality Act 2010 the law states that all taxi and private hire drivers are obliged to carry guide dogs and assistance dogs at no extra cost to the passenger.
Only drivers who have a medical condition that means they are unable to carry dogs in their vehicle may apply for an exemption from these duties.
Unfortunately licensing authorities are still having to prosecute drivers for denying access to assistance dogs despite repeated warnings.
Just this week a Wrexham private hire vehicle (PHV) driver was prosecuted after refusing to transport two blind customers as they were accompanied by an assistance dog.
The driver was ordered to pay a fine of £200 and £1,080 in legal costs for the offence, which occurred late at night in January 2022.
Vicky Foxcroft, a Labour MP foe Lewisham and Deptford, asked the Transport Secretary whether the Department will introduce mandatory training for taxi and minicab drivers to ensure that people with sight loss are not discriminated against when using those services.
Jesse Norman, a Department for Transport (DfT) Minister, responded: “The Government has committed to introducing mandatory disability awareness training for taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers through new National Minimum Standards for licensing authorities when Parliamentary time allows.
“The Government recently consulted on revised Best Practice Guidance for taxi and private hire vehicle licensing authorities in England, which included a stronger recommendation that every driver is required to complete disability awareness training. The Government’s response to this consultation will be published in due course, along with the final version of the guidance.”