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Visually-impaired business plans legal action over taxi refusals

Visually-impaired business plans legal action over taxi refusals
21st July 2020 Ian Streets

The BBC has highlighted the case of a businessman from Cardiff in a report about how blind people are frequently refused transport by taxi drivers.
The BBC Wales programme Rip Off Britain reported that Dan Williams and his black Labrador Zodiac have been refused rides by taxi drivers more than 100 times.
Dan told the programme that Uber drivers have left him standing when they have seen his dog. He said it was “horrible discrimination” and plans to mount a legal challenge against the firm.
Uber responded: “It is totally unacceptable for drivers to refuse to take a guide dog and we investigate every report.”
The programme reported that Dan has retinitis pigmentosa, which causes gradual deterioration in sight. He said he has been able to see when drivers leave him standing and he has kept a copy of the unfulfilled bookings recorded in his Uber account.
Dan told the BBC he has taken to speaking to drivers when booking a cab so they know he has Zodiac travelling with him but that he often has to try several before he finds a driver who will take him and his dog.
He added that sometimes cabbies drive off when they see his dog, while others tell him they are allergic to dog hair and refuse to carry the pair.
He said: “It makes you feel like a second-class citizen. It shouldn’t be happening in the 21st Century.”
Dan, whose firm helps companies to be more inclusive and accessible to people with a visual impairment, said he has now taken to trying to book a taxi about an hour before he needs it due to the problems he encounters.
He said he has been late a number of times and he is now taking legal action against Uber under the Equality Act because the issue was happening frequently.
Uber told the BBC: “It is totally unacceptable for drivers to refuse to take a guide dog and we investigate every report.
“Licensed private hire drivers must carry service animals in their vehicle.
“We highlight this obligation to all drivers before they start using the Uber app and often send reminders.
“Any driver who’s found to have refused to take a service animal will permanently lose access to the app.”

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