Getting a taxi is something that most people take for granted. However if you or somebody you know has a disability that means you require special accessibility measures to use a taxi or minicab then it’s useful to know what your rights are when it comes to taxi accessibility.
The laws regarding taxi accessibility tend to vary depending on which part of the country you’re in and whether or not you live in a major city. In most major cities, any licensed taxis must have wheelchair accessibility.
In London, all black cabs are wheelchair accessible. In addition to this, many new cabs also come with an intercom so the driver is better able to communicate with hearing aid users.
Of all the methods of transport available if you’re disabled, a taxi is the most convenient so it’s reassuring to know that in most cases, you’ll be able to order a taxi or minicab that comes with wheelchair access.
What if you have an assistance dog?
If you have an assistance dog then it shouldn’t be a problem for it to enter the taxi. The only real exception to this is if the driver has an exemption certificate, for example if they’re allergic to dogs.
If you’re calling for a private hire taxi then you should always mention that you have an assistance dog so they can ensure that a driver who accepts them is sent to you. If you’re looking for a taxi on the street then you should look for an exemption certificate, which should be clearly displayed on their vehicle windscreen.
It’s worth knowing that under no circumstances should you be charged extra for travelling with an assistance dog and trying to do so can result in a heavy fine for taxi drivers.
Although you’re entitled to travel in a taxi with an assistance dog, it’s your responsibility to ensure that the dog is clearly identifiable as an assistance dog or that you have the correct documentation with you. Many taxi drivers may not insist on this but it helps to avoid any problems.
Another thing you must ensure when travelling in a taxi with an assistance dog is that it remains on the floor at all times and doesn’t cause any damage to the vehicle. If any damage were to occur then the taxi driver or taxi firm could ask you to pay for it.