GUIDE Dogs has launched a petition calling on the UK Government to make disability equality training a requirement for all taxi and minicab drivers.

It comes after Guide Dogs research, released in November, found that 42 per cent of assistance dog owners who took part in the survey were unlawfully turned away by a taxi or minicab in the last year because of their guide dog.

By comparison, only three per cent of people who took part in a YouGov opinion poll had been turned away.

The Guide Dogs research also revealed that 38 per cent of guide dog and other assistance dog owners had been illegally asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog, whereas only 13 per cent of other taxi passengers said they had been asked to pay extra.

The Access All Areas petition states: “Disability equality training for all taxi and minicab drivers will help them understand the rights and needs of disabled people, and will help to reduce the number of guide dog owners who are turned away.”

James White, Guide Dogs Senior Campaigns Manager, said the discrimination was not only illegal but it knocked people’s confidence and could stop them from doing the everyday things most people take for granted.

“Imagine you were turned away by a taxi driver or asked to pay an extra fare, for no good reason. Despite legal protection, this regularly happens to people living with sight loss because they are travelling with a guide dog,” James said.

“We would like to see this law change and training introduced for all taxi and minicab drivers to help them understand the law and how to welcome assistance dog owners.”

Under the Equality Act it is illegal for taxis and minicabs to refuse to carry a guide dog unless they have a medical exemption certificate.

You can sign the petition here.

Picture credit: Guide Dogs