Two taxi drivers refused to take a wheelchair user and a blind man with his guide dog, despite it being a legal requirement to provide transport to any disabled person.
Wheelchair user left “humiliated” after a taxi driver refused to help her down a temple ramp in Leicester.
Saroj Seth MBE, 78, who had her right leg amputated three years ago, asked for help down a ramp at the Shree Geeta Bhavan Temple in Clarendon Park Road, Leicester.
However, she said the ADT Taxis driver refused, leaving her “humiliated and insulted”.
Mrs Seth told the BBC: “Most of the drivers are very good but this driver came and just sat there in the car. There was no compassion, no kindness.”
He said, ‘No, it is a liability to take a disabled person’ and said he was not going to touch the wheelchair. He didn’t want to come near me and stood by his car.”
Mrs Seth, a former magistrate, who was awarded an MBE for services to community cohesion in Leicester in 2011, said she is a regular ADT Taxis customer and on booking warns that she needs assistance.
But she added: “That incident left me very angry that with all my hard work, people still haven’t understood [about equality], and there is no compassion whatsoever for people who are not able and are dependent on others.”
ADT Taxis manager Nigel Ord said the firm had “suspended the driver indefinitely” and informed the council’s licensing authority.
“The fault lies with us somewhere and we are investigating the incident,” he said. “It is an unfortunate situation and we will learn from this.”
Preston taxi firm refused to accept a booking from a passenger with a guide dog
On 15 November 2018, a visually impaired person telephoned a taxi firm to book a trip from Preston North End.
After confirming the booking to travel to the train station, the complainant advised the operator that she would be travelling with a guide dog. At that point, the operator said that he did not have any dog-friendly drivers available.
Despite the warnings from the caller that it was unlawful to refuse the booking, the operator insisted that he did not have a driver that would take the guide dog and ended the conversation.
The private hire operator, Eagle Taxis Ltd, was taken to court in June 2019 and pleaded guilty at Preston Magistrate’s Court. It has been ordered to pay a total of £1,779.04 compensation.
Speaking to LancsLive, Councillor Peter Moss, Cabinet member for planning and regulation, said: “This has been a very distressing time for the complainant, and I’m pleased it was a favourable outcome at court.
Booking a private hire vehicle is an act many of us take for granted, but when your independence relies on others following the law it’s something that’s always on your mind.
Our licensing team work diligently to ensure private hire drivers and companies are fulfilling their duties and operating within the law.”
By Emma Purcell
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