In the United Kingdom it is an offence under the Equalities Act 2010 for a taxi driver and/or a company to refuse to convey an assistance dog owner accompanied by their working animal (http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/legal-and-policy/legislation/equality-act-2010). As those of you who follow this blog will know, I am a registered blind guide dog owner. This post is about the discrimination I encountered on 27 October when a taxi driver from Station Cars refused to convey me and my guide dog Trigger.
Responsibility for ensuring taxi companies comply with their legal obligations to convey assistance dog owners, accompanied by their working animals rests with the Public Carriage Office, (https://www.tfl.gov.uk/info-for/taxis-and-private-hire/). I reported the issue on 27 October however I have, to date received no feedback from PCO regarding my complaint other than an automated acknowledgement that it had been received by them. I have chased, several times (including via recorded delivery). However I have yet to receive a response from the PCO.
I have thus far refrained from blogging about the incident in the hope that it could be resolved via the PCO. However given the inordinate amount of time things are taking I have determined to blog about the incident in order to highlight it and the difficulties faced by myself and other assistance dog owners.
I have reproduced below my e-mail to PCO (withholding my address and that of the witnesses to the incident for reasons of privacy).
Text Of E-Mail From Kevin Morris To PCO Sent On 27 October 2014
Further to my conversation with (name redacted) of today’s date, I am
writing to complain regarding the failure of Station Cars (vehicle
registration LC63UBM – a Vauxhall Zafira) to convey me and my guide
dog Trigger from my home (address redacted). to (address redacted)
At the time of the incident my guide dog was wearing his distinctive
harness clearly marking him as a working guide dog.
At approximately 7:40 am on Monday 27 October I telephoned Crystal
Cars and requested a car to convey me and my guide dog to (address redacted). The firm advised that the taxi would be with me
for around 8:15 AM.
At about 8:20 am a driver arrived from Station Cars and refused to
convey me and my guide dog. I explained that under the Equalities Act
he was obliged to take guide dogs when accompanied by their owners. He
said that he had not been informed about the presence of the dog and
contacted his office (Station Cars). Station cars backed up the driver
and on me requesting to speak to them (the driver handed over his
mobile) Station Cars repeated that they where not obliged to convey
guide dogs. The firm further confirmed that the booking had been
passed to them by Crystal Cars owing to Crystal Cars not having a
My neighbour, (name and address redacted) and her daughter, (name redacted) spoke with the driver and tried to
reason with him. However he remained adamant that he wouldn’t convey
me and my guide dog. (Name redacted) then took the driver’s details as set
I subsequently contacted Crystal Cars who apologised for the incident
and sent another car which arrived quickly.
To recap. The initial booking was made with Crystal Cars who due to
not having any drivers available passed on the booking to Station
Cars. It was a driver from Station Cars and Station Cars themselves
who refused to convey me and my guide dog. The dog was wearing his
distinctive harness so it was crystal clear that he was a working
guide dog. I would be grateful if you could please investigate the
actions of Station Cars and the driver in question.
Should you require any further information please do not hesitate to
I don’t understand what’s so hard about sticking to the rules.
I agree with you absolutely. Thank you for your comment and support. Kevin
Kevin, that’s terrible. Have you thought about publicising it more widely? It is totally discriminatory, and as you point out, illegal.
Many thanks for your support. Yes I am considering contacting the press regarding the discrimination I encountered, (possibly the Croydon Guardian). Thanks again for your comment. Kevin