Taxi drivers face £1,000 fine for refusing to pick up disabled passengers

A change to the law means that taxi drivers could face fines of up to £1,000 if they refuse to pick up disabled people or attempt to charge them extra, announced today by transport minister Andrew Jones.

From 6 April, all taxis and private hire cars will be obliged to:

  • Transport wheelchair users in their wheelchair
  • Provide wheelchair users with appropriate assistance
  • Charge wheelchair users the same as non-wheelchair users

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “We want to build a country that works for everyone, and part of that is ensuring disabled people have the same access to services and opportunities as anyone else – including when it comes to travel. People who use wheelchairs are often heavily reliant on taxis and private hire vehicles and this change to the law will mean fair and equal treatment for all.”Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:

“We want to build a country that works for everyone, and part of that is ensuring disabled people have the same access to services and opportunities as anyone else – including when it comes to travel. People who use wheelchairs are often heavily reliant on taxis and private hire vehicles and this change to the law will mean fair and equal treatment for all.”

The legislation will affect England, Wales and Scotland, and apply to wheelchair accessible vehicles only, both for taxis and private hires.

Drivers found to be discriminating against wheelchair users will be fined as much as £1,000, as part of the change to the Equality Act. Drivers may also face having their taxi or Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) license suspended or revoked.

The changes will come in to complement previous legal moves which make it illegal for drivers to refuse to pick up people with assistance dogs.

Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “This is a victory for all people with disabilities who experience daily struggles with accessible transport.

“Being able to get from A to B is usually very easy for most people, however we know that this can be a challenge that affects a disabled person’s entire life, including their ability to have a job and play an active part in society. This is a positive and very welcome step in the right direction which we hope will not affect the number of accessible taxis being made available by companies because of the duties now being placed on to drivers.

“Muscular Dystrophy UK and our Trailblazers have been campaigning on this issue for many years, and we commend the government for listening to the views of disabled people.”

The government will be consulting on a draft Accessibility Action Plan later this year, which will look to make public transport more accessible for all.

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