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WHO PAYS? Confusion over Guide Dogs taxi soiling charging raises debate in trade

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

In what can only be described as a harrowing incident, a blind woman and her ailing service dog recently experienced confusion over who should bear the cost of a soiling charge during a taxi journey in Sheffield.

The incident has sparked a discussion about the responsibilities of taxi drivers and passengers when it comes to such situations involving assistance animals.

According to reports, the woman had called City Taxis in Sheffield to arrange transportation for an emergency appointment for her service dog.

During the journey, unfortunately, the dog soiled the interior of the taxi. The woman's fully-sighted partner made efforts to clean the cab using only the tools they had on hand, but traces of dog waste remained, prompting the taxi driver to request a soiling charge. In Sheffield, the licensing authority has set this charge at £50.

However, the passengers, concerned about their poorly dog's condition, only had £15 on them.

They suggested that the taxi driver invoice the Guide Dogs charity to cover the cost. In an attempt to resolve the situation, a worker at the veterinary clinic where the passengers were heading eventually paid the taxi fee. This incident has now raised questions regarding the appropriate course of action for taxi drivers facing similar circumstances involving assistance animals.

TaxiPoint has reached out to Guide Dogs for their perspective on the incident and to gather any advice they would provide to both passengers and drivers dealing with such situations in the future.

Guide Dogs have not responded to requests.

This incident draws attention to the need for even clearer policies and guidelines in the taxi industry regarding assistance animals. While the importance of maintaining a clean and hygienic environment within taxis cannot be overstated, there should be a balanced approach in situations where the health and well-being of service animals are also quite rightly considered.


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