Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham taxi driver loses licence after guide dog refusal

Guide dogs- generic Image copyright PA
Image caption "Disabled people rely on their dogs," said Jason Lane, who was refused a taxi ride

A blind passenger said a taxi driver refused to pick him up and drove off because he was "scared" and "allergic" of his guide dog.

Jason Lane and his dog Crispin were late to birthday celebrations in Birmingham in May 2017 when Abdul Khalik, 42, refused to pick them up.

Mr Lane described it as "frustrating".

Khalik, of Crompton Road in Handsworth, was found guilty of refusing to carry a disabled person at Walsall Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £1,030 to Sandwell Council, who brought the charges, and a victim surcharge of £20. He also surrendered his taxi licence.

"By refusing to take my dog, he was refusing to take me as well," 48-year-old Mr Lane from Bearwood said.

After the hearing, Mr Lane, who lost his sight 11 years ago, said Mr Khalik's reasons for refusing him were "ridiculous".

"First he said he was allergic and then he said he was scared of dogs.

"If taxi drivers don't like dogs, or are scared of dogs, they're in the wrong job."

Guide dogs and the law

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal for a private hire vehicle to refuse to take a disabled person because they have an assistance dog, nor can they charge more.

Anyone found guilty of an offence under the act is liable to a fine.

Assistance dogs are defined as dogs trained to guide someone who is blind, deaf, epileptic or suffers a condition which affects mobility.

Drivers can apply to a licensing authority for exemption from carrying assistance dogs, but only on medical grounds.

Source: UK Government

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