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Guide Dogs charity urges taxi and PHV licensing authorities to educate drivers on assistance dogs law


Image credit: Guide Dogs

In a push to curb illegal refusals and boost the confidence of guide dog users, the charity Guide Dogs has called on taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) operators to comply with regulations regarding assistance dogs.


As part of their Open Doors campaign, the organisation is urging licensing authorities across England to further educate taxi and PHV drivers on their legal obligations.

For over two decades, the law has mandated that licensed taxi and PHV drivers must carry guide or other assistance dogs without additional charge. Despite this, many guide dog users still face unlawful access refusals.


According to recent research by Guide Dogs, 63% of survey respondents had been denied entry to a taxi or PHV in the previous year. Such incidents can severely impact the mobility and independence of those relying on these services.


Taxis and PHVs provide a crucial door-to-door service for individuals with disabilities, including those with vision impairments. Guide Dogs' initiative aims to ensure these services remain accessible and reliable for all, encouraging licensed drivers to familiarise themselves with and adhere to the existing laws.

Jessica Luke, Regional Policy and Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, said: “While it is a criminal offence to refuse to carry a guide or other assistance dog in a taxi or private hire vehicle, without a medical exemption certificate issued by the Local Authority, sadly guide dog owners regularly report this kind of access refusal to us.

 

“We are calling on licensing authorities to circulate our guidance on carrying assistance dogs with all taxi and private hire vehicle operators and self-employed drivers on a yearly basis to reduce the number of illegal access refusals and help more people with sight loss to live the lives they choose.”

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