Taxis must comply with new laws on helping disabled passengers

Taxi Taxi

Worcester City Council officers are to carry out checks on local taxis and private hire vehicles to ensure that they are complying with new and updated laws on helping disabled passengers.

The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 came into force in England in June this year and aims to ensure that disabled people can use taxi and private hire vehicles safe in the knowledge that they will not be discriminated against.

In Worcester, licensing officers will be carrying out random 'test purchase' checks to ensure that the new legislation is being followed. This could involve 'test purchasers' in wheelchairs or with guide dogs.

The Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 amended the Equality Act 2010 by introducing new and amended existing, duties for local authorities and taxi and private hire vehicle drivers and operators alike.

Worcester City Council will be taking steps to support the introduction of Act by amending and updating taxi policies.

All taxi and private hire drivers and operators will also be informed of their responsibilities which are to provide disabled passengers with reasonable assistance and carry their mobility aids, while not charging any more than they would for a non-disabled passenger. Drivers must also provide any disabled passenger who asks for it, assistance to identify the vehicle, at no extra cost.

Public Hire vehicles are also required to accept bookings for or on behalf of any disabled person if they have a suitable vehicle available.

Any driver identified as having acted in a discriminatory manner by either refusing a passenger in a wheelchair or a passenger accompanied by an assistance guide dog, may risk formal action. This could result in not only prosecution, but also the suspension or revocation of their licence.

Councillor Richard Udall, chair of Worcester City Council's Licensing and Environmental Health Committee, said: "We want everyone to feel welcome in Worcester and to feel safe and supported when they are out and about. For some disabled people, taxis are their only means of transport and we want them to know that wherever possible, their transport needs will be catered for.

"All taxi and private hire drivers and operators are being informed of their responsibilities to disabled passengers and our officers will be carrying out spot checks in the coming months. Any driver found to be flouting the new regulations could have their licence suspended or revoked and could even face prosecution." 

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