Private hire driver prosecuted for refusing to let a guide dog in his cab

PR2156/MJ/JB - 27/03/2018

Mid Sussex District Council has successfully prosecuted a private hire driver who denied a visually impaired customer access to his vehicle because they had a guide dog with them.

On 4 September 2017, Mid Sussex District Council received a complaint about Mr Muhammad Jashim Uddin of London Road, East Grinstead. Mr Uddin, who is licensed by the Council as a Private Hire driver, was accused of refusing to honour a booking made by a disabled customer because they were accompanied by a guide dog. The Mid Sussex District Council Licensing team investigated the allegation and decided to prosecute.

It is an offence under the Equality Act 2010 for a driver to refuse or decline to take a customer who is accompanied by an assistance dog. Mr Uddin pleaded guilty at Crawley Magistrates Court on Wednesday 21 March 2018. The Magistrates fined Mr Uddin £162, plus a victim surcharge of £30 and required him to pay the District Council’s total court costs of £876.

“Mid Sussex District Council takes the Equality Act very seriously and I hope this prosecution sends a clear message to any rogue taxi drivers who think it’s acceptable to discrimate against disabled people,” said Councillor Norman Webster, Cabinet Member for Community.

 “Assistance dogs play a vital role in helping visually impaired people and those with other disabilities to maintain their independence. They deserve to be treated properly – and that includes being able to travel with their owner in taxis. Quite simply it is unlawful for a driver to refuse to pick up a properly booked person with an assistance dog.”