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MYSTERY SHOPPER: Lichfield taxi drivers tested for assistance dog compliance


Image credit: Lichfield District Council

Licensing officers from Lichfield District Council, in partnership with the charity Guide Dogs, conducted checks to ensure that taxi drivers in the area adhere to the laws around the transportation of guide and other assistance dogs.


The initiative saw undercover officers, alongside Jessica Luke, the Regional Policy and Campaigns Manager for Guide Dogs, and her guide dog, Pebble, undertake pre-booked and rank-hailed taxi journeys. This was to observe if drivers are fulfilling their obligations to carry assistance dogs, as mandated by UK law.

The results were encouraging, with no incidents of drivers refusing the fare for Jessica and Pebble during the booked journeys. However, one driver did leave abruptly upon their approach at a taxi rank. Following this, the driver was interrogated by licensing officers and demonstrated that he had a prior booking, which accounted for his departure.


This check is part of ongoing efforts by the council and various organisations to ensure that the rights of passengers with assistance dogs are respected and that drivers are aware of and comply with their legal duties.

Alex Farrell, Cabinet Member Councillor, said: “This operation was organised after receiving intelligence that taxi drivers have been refusing to carry visually impaired people accompanied by a working guide dog. I’m pleased that all the drivers who were checked during this operation complied with their legal requirement to carry guide dogs and thank them for doing so.


“Further operations are planned, and it’s worth reminding drivers that if they do refuse to carry an assistance dog, including a guide dog, they face having their license suspended or revoked, and prosecution. Guide dogs is a fantastic charity and I’m very grateful for their support in helping us protect the rights of visually impaired people in Lichfield District.”

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