A private hire “taxi” driver who refused to take a fare from a blind passenger with an assistance dog is facing a bill of more than £500.
Muhammad Ibrar attended Bury Blind Society in Tenterden Street in April this year to pick up three passengers and an assistance dog, but refused to take the dog.
The passengers had to call for another taxi to pick them up, and complained the following day to Bury Council’s licensing service.
Ibrar ,26, of Heywood Street, Bury attended Manchester Magistrates Court on 1 November 2017 and pleaded guilty to an offence under the Equality Act 2010 of failing or refusing to carry out a booking accepted by his operator because an assistance dog was accompanying a disabled person. He was fined £250, ordered to pay £250 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.
Angela Lomax, Bury’s head of trading standards and licensing, said: “Refusing to transport an assistance dog is an offence and we will not tolerate such refusals unless the driver has a valid exemption certificate issued by the licensing service.
“We hope that the financial penalty imposed by the magistrates will deter any driver who may be minded to refuse passengers with assistance dogs. We would also like to thank the passengers who reported this case to us.”
Councillor Judith Kelly, cabinet member for corporate affairs and regulatory services, added: “Thousands of disabled people rely on an assistance dog to help them with day-to-day activities that many people take for granted. We are committed to an accessible public transport system in which disabled people have the same opportunities to travel as other members of society. Hackney carriages and private hire vehicles play a vital role in this and it is important that people who use wheelchairs or assistance dogs are confident that drivers will accept them and their wheelchair or assistance dog and carry them at no extra charge.”