Passengers in Wheelchairs / Assistance Dogs

The Equality Act 2010 includes provisions relating specifically to Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles and disability.

The information below provides details of the provisions that are currently in place in relation to Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles, and what the implications are for Hackney Carriage and Private Hire vehicle drivers. In effect 2 duties are placed on drivers:

  1. To assist passengers in wheelchairs (if you drive a wheelchair accessible vehicle); and
  2. To carry guide dogs / assistance dogs.

Assisting passengers in wheelchairs

The Equality Act places duties on the drivers of designated wheelchair accessible Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles to provide physical assistance to passengers in wheelchairs.

The duties apply to the driver of any wheelchair accessible Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles which are on the licensing authority’s list of "designated vehicles". Oxford City Council maintains a list of designated vehicles as required by Section 167 of the Act (in effect this is all Hackney Carriage Vehicles licensed by the Council) and therefore the following duties apply to you.

The duties placed on the drivers of designated wheelchair accessible Hackney Carriages and Private Hire vehicles are (under Section 165 of The Equality Act 2010):

  • To carry the passenger while in a wheelchair
  • Not to make any additional charge for doing so
  • If the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair
  • To take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort; and
  • To give the passenger such "mobility assistance" as is reasonably required.

If the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, the driver must help the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle. If the passenger wants to transfer to a seat, the driver must help him or her to get out of the wheelchair and into a seat and back into the wheelchair; the driver must also load the wheelchair into the vehicle. The driver must also offer to load the passenger’s luggage into and out of the vehicle.

If you are concerned that you may need training to assist you with these duties, you can apply to attend the Council provided Disability Awareness Course (priced at £45.00).

Guide dogs / Assistance dogs

Duties are also placed on Hackney Carriages and Private Hire drivers and on Private Hire Vehicle Operators to carry guide dogs and other assistance. We have provided some tips for driver so as to assist them when carrying blind or partially sighted passengers:

  • Don't sound your horn outside their home, go to the door and collect your blind or partially sighted passenger.
  • Don't be afraid to ask how you can help to guide your passenger to your vehicle.
  • Make sure your passenger is seated and secure before moving off.
  • If your passenger has a guide dog, make sure that the dog is in the foot well or hatchback of the vehicle.
  • If possible, make sure that the passenger airbag is turned off if a guide dog is in the front foot well of your vehicle.
  • Tell your passenger about delays and diversions to their journey.
  • Tell your passenger when you have arrived at their destination.
  • Tell your passenger what the fare is or meter reading.
  • Make sure you guide your passenger from your vehicle to the door at the end of the journey.
  • If you can’t take a guide dog for medical reasons, make sure that your passenger is provided with a driver who can by contacting your Operator.
  • If you can't take a guide dog for medical reasons, you must apply to your local licensing authority for an 'Exemption Certificate' and provide medical proof to support your application.

The Guide Dog Association have kindly provided us with their 'Access to Taxis for Guide Dog Owners' brochure, which will provide you with further information to help you carry out your duties.

Access to Taxis Information Leaflet (PDF)