Thank you for contacting me about assistance dog owners and taxis.
As you note, since October 2010, sections of the Equality Act 2010 place duties on taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers to carry assistance dogs at no additional charge. Section 166 of the Equality Act which allows taxi and PHV drivers to be exempt from the duties to carry assistance dogs for medical reasons also came into force in October 2010.
The Law Commission’s review of taxi and PHV legislation highlighted that disabled passengers can however suffer difficulties in obtaining and using taxi and PHV services. I understand that the Government is currently considering the Law Commission’s comprehensive report on reforming taxi and private hire vehicle legislation. In line with the protocol that exists between the Government and the Law Commission, they will provide a full response in due course.
In the interim, I know that both taxis and PHVs are a particularly valuable form of transport for people with disabilities and Ministers therefore strongly discourage the practice of making additional charges to assist a disabled passenger and would remind all Taxi and PHV operators of their obligations under the Equality Act 2010.
I will follow this issue with interest. Thank you again for taking the time to contact me