Passengers and accessibility

Disabled passengers

Taxis and private hire services are a vital resource for disabled people in London. Sections 164A, 165 and 165A of the Equality Act 2010 place duties on the drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles.

Section 164A obliges all taxi and private hire vehicle drivers to carry any disabled person and provide mobility assistance without making, or proposing to make, any additional charge.

Drivers of all taxis and private hire vehicles have a legal duty to:

  • Carry the passenger
  • To carry their wheelchair (where possible)
  • To carry their mobility aids
  • Not make, or propose to make, any additional charge for carrying out these duties
  • To take reasonable steps to carry the passenger in safety and reasonable comfort
  • Give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required - which the Equality Act 2010 defines as:
    • To enable the passenger to get into or out of the vehicle
    • To load the passenger's luggage, wheelchair or mobility aids into or out of the vehicle

Pre-booked taxis and PHVs

Section 165A places duties on any driver of a pre-booked taxi or PHV to:

  • Assist any disabled person to identify and find the vehicle, provided the driver is made aware that the passenger requires such assistance
  • Not to make, or propose to make, any additional charge for complying with this duty

Wheelchairs

Section 165 of the Equality Act places additional duties on drivers of designated wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles. They must:

  • Carry the passenger while in the wheelchair
  • If the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair
  • To carry the passenger's mobiltiy aids
  • Not to make, or propose to make, any additional charge for undertaking these duties
  • To take reasonable steps to carry the passenger in safety and reasonable comfort
  • Give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required - which the Equality Act 2010 defines as
    • To enable the passenger to get in or out of the vehicle
    • If the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair
    • If the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair into or out of the vehicle
    • To load the passenger's luggage, wheelchair or mobility aids into or out of the vehicle.

Compliance

Drivers who do not comply with any of the above duties 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.

Designated wheelchair-accessible vehicles

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 lists of designated taxis and private hire vehicles, which are available below.

All taxis licensed by us are required to be wheelchair accessible and are automatically designated for the purposes of Section 165 at the point of licensing.

Is my private hire vehicle a wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV)?

Private hire vehicles are designated as WAVs at the point of the vehicle licensing inspection and this is noted on the vehicle licence.

Vehicles that have been manufactured and type-approved as WAV, or vehicles that have been permanently adapted or modified to carry passengers remaining in their wheelchair, will be considered for exemptions.

If you believe your private hire vehicle is WAV, but this is not noted on your vehicle licence, please contact our vehicle inspections team on 0343 222 5555 to arrange for your vehicle to be inspected.

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.

Private hire operators who have wheelchair accessible vehicles can be searched for using the online form.

Fares

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.

Assistance dogs

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:

Did you know:

  • Taxi and private hire drivers can't refuse a passenger because they have an assistance dog
  • Passengers can't be charged more for a taxi or private hire journey because they have an assistance dog
  • Assistance dogs must be seated with their owners at all times
  • It's illegal to refuse to carry a passenger with an assistance dog. Drivers doing so could risk losing their licence or face a fine
  • There are different types of assistance dogs providing a wide range of support to older and disabled people. Not all assistance dogs wear a jacket and there are other assistance dogs in addition to those shown in our film and on the poster and leaflet. Taxi drivers, private hire operators and drivers should be aware that some passengers may have a health condition that is not obvious or visible but will still have an assistance dog.

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 27 minicab drivers for refusing to carry passengers accompanied by assistance dogs, resulting in fines totalling £9,705, costs awarded to TfL to the value of £13,471 and £1,855 paid in compensation to the victims.

Find out more from our guidance for passengers about their rights regarding assistance dogs.

We also produce a leaflet which contains more information about 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.

Assistance dogs booklet and poster

Lost property

If your passenger has left an item in your vehicle, then taxi drivers should take the item to the TfL Lost Property Office (LPO), a Metropolitan Police Station, or a City of London Police station.

From 28 October 2019, the LPO will be located at Pelham Street, South Kensington. It will be open from 08:30 - 16:00 Monday to Friday.

Guidance

  • Taxi drivers should hand in items as soon as possible and within 24 hours of them being left in their vehicle
  • Upon drop-off, taxi drivers will be issued a receipt for the item
  • Taxi drivers who wish to claim items that haven't been collected can do so in the first two weeks of the month, four months after they deposited the item e.g. an item deposited in January can be reclaimed from 1 - 14th May.

There is off-street parking at the LPO which is available whilst taxi drivers are dropping-off or collecting lost property. Taxi drivers must ensure that they press the button by the roller shutter and inform the on-site security team of their ID and their reason for visiting

Taxicard

The London Taxicard scheme provides subsidised door to door journeys for London residents who have serious mobility or visual impairments.  Almost 60,000 members are currently registered under this scheme, enabling them to take around one million trips per year.

The scheme is funded by Transport for London, the 32 London Boroughs and the City of London and is administered on their behalf by London Councils. 

Benefits of being a Taxicard driver

  • The scheme operates across London, allowing higher earning potential to taxi (All London and suburban) and private hire drivers
  • Flexibility to working hours with no minimum contract
  • No sign up or subscription fees. Commission is payable only on the bookings completed
  • Bookings are available immediately or can be planned up to 48 hours in advance
  • Weekly payments

Please see our OnRoute magazine for further information.

Becoming a Taxicard driver

The requirements are as follows:

  • A valid TfL Taxi or Private Hire Vehicle (PHV) driver licence
  • A vehicle that has a valid TfL vehicle licence
  • Completion of an E-Learning course

Computer Cab Plc. has been contracted as the primary supplier for taxi vehicles. The option to request a taxi rental is available directly from Computer Cab Plc.

Signing up

You can apply to become a Taxicard driver by:

Email:   join@comcab.co.uk
Call:      0207 432 1600
Text:     07542395059

Private hire operators who want to join the Taxicard scheme should contact:

servicepartners@addisonlee.com