Wayne David, Labour MP for Caerphilly, tested his taxi hailing skills at Labour Party Conference in a football-themed game with the charity Guide Dogs.
While trying to get a taxi to take guide dog owner Jacqueline to her local football match, Mr David heard about the real problems assistance dog owners face when being illegally refused by taxis and minicabs.
The Equality Act makes it illegal for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to take an assistance dog or to charge extra for carrying it. However, research by Guide Dogs has found that 42% of assistance dog owners have been turned away by a taxi or minicab in a one-year period because of their dog. The research also uncovered that 38% of assistance dog owners have been asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog.
Wayne David is supporting Guide Dogs’ call for all taxi and minicab drivers to undertake disability equality training, so they understand the rights and needs of disabled passengers and feel confident to offer assistance. The campaign is supported by more than 30 organisations, including trade bodies, local government representatives and disability groups.
Speaking after meeting with Jacqueline, Wayne David said, “This is a very important issue. Assistance dogs for visually impaired people are absolutely vital. I really hope that taxi and minicab drivers in the Caerphilly area will support my call for assistance dogs to accompany their owners on all journeys".