Guide Dog Banned from Taxi

Guide Dog Banned from Taxi

Blind women turned away from Brighton cab because of guide dog

An investigation has been launched in Brighton after a blind woman was refused entry to a taxi as she was accompanied by a guide dog.

Diane Marks was waiting for taxi outside Brighton Station having returned from a trip to London when she was told by one cabbie that he wouldn’t allow her into his cab.

When she was asked why, she was told it was because she had a guide dog and the driver claimed he was allergic to dog hair.

A shocked Ms Marks, who is also a disability campaigner, admitted to feeling “totally humiliated” by the experience.

“I wanted to see his exemption certificate but he wouldn’t show it to me,” she said. “He shut both doors, locked up his windows and locked himself in. Then he just drove off. Nobody standing next to me at the taxi rank said anything.

“I was deeply embarrassed and very humiliated. I felt like a second class citizen.”

Disability campaigners have brought the issue up at a meeting of the Brighton and Hove Taxi Forum, but although the incident will be investigated, the fact that Ms Marks could not record the driver’s registration number will make identification difficult, say taxi bosses in the city.

However, this is not the first time would-be passengers in Brighton have been turned away because of their canine companions.

A blind man travelling to the Labour Party conference in the city three years ago was refused entry to a cab because of his guide dog when the driver claimed to be afraid of dogs.

Last year, a blind pensioner on Marine Parade hoping to get a lift home on a cold and rainy day was turned away because he had a guide dog with him.

However, taxi groups in Brighton argue that, while such incidents are unfortunate, they are isolated cases.

“It’s not nice when it happens and of course it’s horrible for the person involved,” said Andy Cheesman of Brighton and Hove Taxi Forum.

“When this sort of thing happens we suggest that they take a registration number – but of course that’s very difficult if you are blind.

“But it is a very rare event. Our taxis travel more than a million miles a year and we receive very few complaints of this nature.”

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