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Blind woman forced to walk in the rain after she's 'refused taxi' because of her guide dog

Blind woman forced to walk in the rain after she's 'refused taxi' because of her guide dog

A blind woman has spoken out after she was allegedly 'refused a taxi' twice because she had her guide dog with her.

A blind woman has spoken out after she was allegedly 'refused a taxi' twice because she had her guide dog with her.

On Tuesday, 11 July, Adele Kinch and her partner Steven Yates requested a taxi from Radio Cabs Ashton and Swift Radio Cars to pick them and Kinch's guide dog Zebedee up from Stalybridge train station to take them to Yates' mother's house.

However, the pair were allegedly told twice by staff - the two companies 'amalgamated recently into one company' - they couldn't send a taxi.

Staff reportedly said the pair would have to 'wait for a dog-friendly' car despite there being a different law for guide dogs being allowed in vehicles.

Adele Kinch and Steven Yates were allegedly 'refused a taxi' twice.
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Left unable to get in a regular taxi, Kinch and Yates felt like there was no other option but to walk 'about a mile' to Yates' mother's house.

"By the time we got halfway there walking, the heavens opened, which didn’t help, and we were drenched by the time we got there," Kinch explains.

Yates notes how 'infuriating' it was to have to walk given 'a guide dog is allowed in any vehicle'.

According to section 168 of the 2010 Equality Act, taxi drivers have a duty 'carry the disabled person's dog and allow it to remain with that person' alongside not charging the person any additional fee for doing so.

The pair ended up 'drenched' by rain on their walk.
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The same applies for private vehicle hire as it does for taxi services.

The law continues: "The driver of a taxi commits an offence by failing to comply with a duty imposed by this section."

Indeed, if a taxi or private vehicle hire driver is found guilty of not letting a disabled person's guide dog inside their vehicle, they are committing a criminal offence and are 'liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level three on the standard scale'.

A taxi driver can only disallow a disabled person from bringing their dog inside their vehicle if they have been issued an exemption letter.

By law, guide dogs should be allowed into any taxi or private hire vehicle.
Getty Images/ OLI SCARFF/ AFP

Guide Dogs for the Blind Association adds, as per its website: "The only exception to this is if the driver has a medical exemption certificate from the licensing authority due to a genuine medical condition that is aggravated by exposure to dogs.

"If this is the case, you or your company should help find the passenger another taxi/minicab."

The organisation also notes how guide dogs are 'trained to sit at their owner's feet at all times' and won't 'bother other people' or 'climb on seats' so pose no risk of dirtying or damaging the inside of a taxi.

According to Kinch, it doesn't happen 'regularly' but 'this sort of thing does happen'.
Twitter/ @Jacquel01037887

Unfortunately, the couple faced even more problems when trying to get a lift back from Yates' mother's house to the station.

While they were able to have a taxi sent out to them, Yates explains the vehicle allegedly arrived late and was 'so small' they were all 'very squashed' - with Yates requiring the use of a mobility scooter.

Yates recalls: "It was also so late that it made us miss our train home. We had to get a train to Bolton and then found out that we’d have to wait a really long time for a connecting train back to Southport.

"My partner’s parents ended up paying for a taxi back to Southport for us, it was £60. We got back about 9.30pm."

Yates requires the use of a mobility scooter.
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Senior Policy, Public Affairs and Campaigns Manager for the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association, Chris Theobald, said: "We cannot comment on the specifics of this incident. However, the law on access rights for guide and other assistance dogs is clear; taxi and private hire vehicle (PHV) drivers are legally required to carry assistance dogs and not charge extra for this service.

"Only drivers with a medical exemption certificate from their licensing authority are exempt from this requirement. Drivers who fail to comply can be prosecuted, fined up to £1,000, and the driver’s licence can be suspended or revoked."

Tyla has attempted to contact Radio Cabs Ashton for comment.

Featured Image Credit: MEN Media

Topics: Dog, Animals, News, UK News, Health