COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: Guide Dogs forces change in law over minicab operators

Discrimination by minicab drivers against blind and partially sighted people is to be outlawed following a two-year campaign by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.

The Disability Discrimination Act is to be amended to ensure all minicab operators and private hire drivers cannot refuse to carry a guide dog.

It follows Guide Dogs' Access for All campaign, which was launched in 2000 after complaints from hundreds of guide dog owners who were being refused lifts.

The Act makes it a legal requirement for only licensed taxis (black cabs) to carry dogs. But as a result of the campaign, nearly 250 local councils agreed to use their licensing powers to require minicabs to carry guide dogs with their owners. However, a number of authorities declined so nationally the situation remains patchy.

After hearing of the campaign, Labour MP Neil Gerrard tabled a Ten-Minute Rule Bill, the Private Hire Vehicles (Carriage of Dogs etc) Bill that has now passed through the House of Commons and House of Lords.

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