Avoiding Disability Discrimination in Transport
Disability discrimination legislation makes it unlawful for organisations such as transport service providers to discriminate against disabled people in the way in which they provide or do not provide their services.
Taxi operators have duties under disability discrimination law in relation to transport infrastructure such as their buildings and information services. They also have duties in relation to the provision and use of the vehicles they provide.
The legislation makes it unlawful for taxi operators to refuse or deliberately fail to provide a service to a disabled person. They must also make "reasonable adjustments" to take away or overcome elements in their services which present barriers to disabled people.
The Equality Commission has produced a Code of Practice which explains the law and provides guidance to transport providers, advisors and disabled people on the scope of the Disability Transport Regulations.
As well as complying with the legislation, making services more accessible and marketing them as such is likely to increase an operator´s attractiveness to disabled passengers.
What does the law define as a taxi?
For the purposes of this guidance the legislation covers taxis which seat not more than eight passengers in addition to the driver. This includes:
- public hire taxis which can stand at ranks, be hailed in the street or be pre-booked;
- private hire vehicles, commonly referred to as private hire taxis, which must be pre-booked; and
- taxi buses.
Example of discrimination
A taxi operator charges a disabled person more than a non disabled person for use of an accessible seven seat taxi. This would be less favourable treatment and would be unlikely to be justifiable. If, however, the taxi operator charges more for the accessible taxi regardless of whether the person is disabled, this would not be less favourable treatment as the operator is charging every customer the same regardless of disability.