At the beginning of January this year a taxi driver, who I had booked by ringing Central Cars in Nottingham, took one look at me and refused to take me, leaving me to wait a further 20 minutes in sub-zero temperatures. I wasn’t drunk, I wasn’t abusive or violent, I wasn’t dirty or refusing to pay. I am blind and was accompanied by my guide dog.
Not only did he refuse to take me very loudly and rudely, but he also denied that he was required to carry a certificate to prove his alleged allergy to dogs. He also then went on to try and involve passers by which was humiliating in the extreme.
I reported this incident to the taxi licensing authority who were able to confirm that this man did not have a valid exemption or any proof of a dog allergy. I then gave a formal statement to the authority who subsequently interviewed the taxi driver.
The upshot is that this man received a caution and was advised to get proof of his allergies. I cannot argue as to whether or not he has genuine allergies, but on the day in question, he did not have the relevant paperwork and was therefore acting against the law. I was hoping that he would receive at least a temporary suspension or fine, something that would serve as a message to other drivers tempted to act in the same way but this was not the case.
I feel thoroughly let down by the Taxi Licensing Authority whose message appears to be that it is only a cautionary matter to treat disabled customers less favourably. Turn down a blind person, leave them stranded and get a slap on the wrist. That man broke the law but he has got away with it.