Taxi drivers face £1,000 fine for refusing wheelchair users

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


It has been announced taxi and minicab drivers could be fined up to £1,000 if they refuse to pick up wheelchair user.


This change in law from the Government also includes punishments for taxi and minicab drivers who attempt to charge wheelchair users more or if they fail to provide assistance.


The Department of Transport has even stated that offending drivers could lose their licences. 


The new rule comes into force on April 6 and will apply to taxi and private hire vehicle drivers with wheelchair-accessible vehicles in Britain.


Transport Minister Andrew Jones said the law change, which is part of provisions being enacted from the Equality Act, will help ensure disabled people have “the same access to services and opportunities as anyone else, when it comes to travel.”


He added: “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.”


Disability charities, which have long campaigned on the issue, welcomed the move. Robert Meadowcroft, the chief executive of Muscular Dystrophy UK, said it was “a victory for all people with disabilities who experience daily struggles with accessible transport.”


He added: “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.”


Steve McNamara, general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association in London, described the new measures as “long overdue.”


He said: “The black cab trade takes its responsibility to wheelchair users extremely seriously.


“Our drivers’ unrivalled knowledge and training means they provide the same gold standard service to every passenger, on an equal basis.”


Those unable to provide assistance to wheelchair users due to medical reasons will be able to apply for an exemption from the new requirements.


The government said it would be consulting on further plans this year to address the barriers faced by disabled people using all types of public transport.

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