Taxi drivers who refuse to transport wheelchair users could be fined.
Taxi drivers face a fine of up to £1,000 if they refuse to transport wheelchair users or attempt to charge them extra, in a change to the law announced today (7 February 2017) by Transport Minister Andrew Jones.
From Thursday 6th April taxi and private hire vehicle drivers will be obliged by law to:
- transport wheelchair users in their wheelchair
- provide passengers in wheelchairs with appropriate assistance
- charge wheelchair users the same as non-wheelchair users
The new rules will apply in England, Wales and Scotland affecting vehicles that are designated as wheelchair accessible and will apply to both taxis and private hire vehicles.
All taxis in London and a significant number in most major urban centres are wheelchair accessible.
In a change to the law, drivers found to be discriminating against wheelchair users face fines of up to £1,000 as part of provisions being enacted from the Equality Act.
Drivers may also face having their taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) licence suspended or revoked by their licencing authority.
Drivers unable to provide assistance for medical reasons will be able to apply to their licensing authority for an exemption from the new requirements.
The new requirements, which will come into force from Thursday 6th April 2017, complement those already in place to prevent discrimination against users of assistance dogs and underline the government’s wide-ranging commitment to supporting transport networks which work for everyone.
The government will be consulting on a draft ‘Accessibility action plan’ later this year, which will seek to address the barriers faced by disabled people in accessing all modes of public transport.