Disabled passengers and accessibility - know your rights
Taxi and wheelchair-accessible private hire vehicles are a vital resource for mobility impaired people in Slough. Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 obliges drivers of wheelchair-accessible taxis and private hire vehicles to carry wheelchair users and provide mobility assistance without additional charge.
Drivers of designated taxis and private hire wheelchair-accessible vehicles have a legal duty to:
- transport the passenger while in the wheelchair
- not make any additional charge for doing so
- if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to transport the wheelchair
- take such steps as are necessary to ensure the passenger is transported in safety and reasonable comfort
- give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required - which the Equality Act 2010 defines as:
- to enable the passenger to get into or out of the vehicle
- if the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair
- if the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair into or out of the vehicle
- to load the passenger’s luggage into or out of the vehicle.
Non-compliant drivers are liable to prosecution and fines of up to £1,000. The council may also review the driver’s continued fitness to hold a licence.
The only grounds for exemption are medical, or that a physical condition makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a driver to comply with these duties. Drivers must make an application for exemptions to Slough Borough Council. Drivers must carry their exemption certificate with them in order for the exemption to be valid.
The driver of a ‘designated wheelchair accessible taxi’ (with a taxi meter) cannot charge a wheelchair user extra. A meter should not be left running while:
- the driver performs duties required by the Act
- the passenger enters, leaves or secures their wheelchair within the passenger compartment.
Private hire operators (minicab companies) have responsibilities under the general provisions of the Act not to discriminate when providing a service. That includes not charging passengers more because they have a disability.