Taxi and private hire drivers have an important role to play in helping people with assistance dogs to travel around London. Read the Equality Act 2010 for more detailed information about your obligations.
Watch our short video on what taxi and private hire drivers must do when a passenger has an assistance dog:
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The only grounds on which drivers can be exempted from these duties are medical. Applications for exemptions must be made to us. Drivers must display the exemption notice and carry their exemption certificate with them in order for the exemption to be valid
Between February 2015 and November 2017, we have successfully prosecuted 25 minicab drivers for refusing assistance dogs, resulting in fines totalling £9,155 plus costs.
Find out more from our guidance for passengers about their rights regarding assistance dogs.
We also produce a leaflet which contains more information about the seven types of assistance dogs and your responsibilities to passengers who need to travel with them. This leaflet was produced for the private hire trade but it is relevant to both taxi and private hire trades.
Taxis and wheelchair-accessible private hire vehicles are a vital resource for mobility impaired people in London. Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 obliges drivers of wheelchair-accessible taxis and private hire vehicles to carry wheelchair users and provide mobility assistance without additional charge.
Drivers of taxis and designated wheelchair-accessible private hire vehicles have a legal duty to:
Non-compliant drivers are liable to prosecution and fines of up to £1,000. The driver's continued fitness to hold a licence may also be reviewed.
The only grounds for exemption are medical, or that a physical condition makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a driver to comply with these duties. Applications for exemptions must be made to us. Drivers must carry their exemption certificate with them in order for the exemption to be valid.
Find out more from the Department for Transport (DfT) guidance.
A taxi or private hire vehicle is "designated" as wheelchair-accessible for the purposes of section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 if it appears on a list maintained under section 167. We maintain such a list of designated taxis, which is available on request, and private hire vehicles, which is available here.
If you disagree with the decision that your vehicle is wheelchair-accessible, you may appeal the decision, but you must do so within 28 days of your vehicle first being designated by us as being wheelchair-accessible. To appeal, write to Westminster Magistrates' court, stating that you wish to appeal against the decision and apply for a summons against us. The address of the court is 181 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5BR and the telephone number is 020 3126 3056.
Taxis: The DfT's guidance states that the requirement not to charge a wheelchair user extra means that, in practice, a meter should not be left running while the driver performs duties required by the Act, or the passenger enters, leaves or secures their wheelchair within the passenger compartment.
Private Hire: Operators have responsibilities under the general provisions of the Act not to discriminate when providing a service - that includes not charging passengers more because they are disabled.