A Nottingham private hire driver has lost his licence after he refused to pick up a blind man who was being accompanied by his guide dog.
Private hire driver Mohammed Saghir, pleaded guilty to failing to pick up a customer and accept a fare at Derby Justice Centre in December, and following a review by Nottingham City Council he has had his licence revoked.
The committee heard Saghir, arrived at a pub near Trent Bridge to take Mark Whittle and his wife, Catherine, home.
As reported in the Nottingham Live, Saghir arrived outside the pub, and sent a text to the Whittle's to inform them of his arrival.
However, when Mr and Mrs Whittle emerged from the pub alongside Archer, their guide dog, he drove off.
Mr Whittle rang the council to complain and subsequently an investigation was launched into Saghir's behaviour.
Mr Saghir was handed a bill totalling £476.17. He was fined £210 with a victim surcharge of £30 and was ordered to pay costs of £236.17.
Mr Whittle said: "I was really angry about what happened. We’d gone outside and it was only when a member of the public approached to ask if we were waiting for a taxi – and told us it was driving away – that we realised the driver had left.
“I called the cab firm and they got the driver on the phone but despite them saying to him that he had to take us, he was adamant that he wouldn't have the dog in his car.
“I’m sorry that he’s lost his licence because that’s his livelihood, but he’s only got himself to blame. When he signed up to become a taxi driver, he should know the rules and regulations – in this case, he can’t refuse to accept an assistance dog.
“It makes you worry what could happen if it was a young girl with a guide dog waiting for a taxi, which turned up only to drive off. I’m keen to raise awareness of this because I don’t want it to happen to anyone else.”
Portfolio holder for community protection at Nottingham City Council, councillor Toby Neal said: “We were shocked to hear of Mr Whittle’s experience and immediately investigated. It would appear that the taxi driver, for whatever reason, did not want to carry a guide dog in his car.
“Under the Equality Act, guide dog and other assistance dog owners have the right to enter the majority of services, premises and vehicles with their dog. This includes taxis, and for Mr Whittle and his wife to be left standing at the side of the road is totally unacceptable.
“This prosecution is an important result for the City Council and reinforces a strong message to taxi drivers that we expect the highest standards at all times. Our Driver Improvement Penalty Point System (DIPPS) was introduced in April 2017 and since then we have sanctioned 56 drivers for infringements of that code of conduct.”