Kate has expressed her concern over research from the charity, Guide Dogs, showing that nearly half of assistance dog owners have been turned away by a taxi or minicab in a one-year period because of their dog.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to take an assistance dog or to charge extra for carrying it. However, the research also uncovered that 38 per cent of assistance dog owners have been asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog.
Kate is supporting Guide Dogs’ call for all taxi and minicab drivers to undertake disability equality training so they understand the rights and needs of disabled passengers and feel confident to offer assistance.
The campaign is supported by more than 30 organisations, including trade bodies, local government representatives and disability groups.
Kate visited the Guide Dogs stand at Labour Party conference this week to hear about the real problems assistance dog owners face when being illegally refused by taxis and minicabs.
Kate said: “It’s disgraceful that so many assistance dog owners are still turned away by taxi drivers, even though it’s illegal for them to do so. That’s why I’m supporting Guide Dogs’ call for drivers to undertake disability equality training.
“I was really pleased to show my support for Guide Dogs and look forward to continuing to work with them in the future on this important campaign”
James White, Senior Campaigns Manager at Guide Dogs, commented: “Imagine you were turned away by a taxi driver for no reason. This happens to people living with sight loss with shocking regularity just because they are travelling with their guide dog.
“It’s not only illegal, it knocks people’s confidence and stops them doing the everyday things that most people take for granted – going to a café, meeting friends, going to the doctor’s or to their local football match.
“We are urging the Government to require disability equality training for all drivers to help reduce the number of access refusals.”