Minister leaves questions on access unanswered

This week in the House of Lords, Baroness Kramer, Minister for Transport was questioned about access refusals during a question about accessible transport. We were listening in the office with interest.

Lord Tebbit said: “there is a great deal of difficulty for people using assistance dogs, whether it is in taxis, people attempting to get into taxis and being ignored or whether it is in hotels and restaurants and other places. There really does need to be something done – and I would be grateful if (the Minister) would do it – to enforce the law to make sure that people with assistance dogs are not discriminated against.”

Baroness Kramer responded saying “I can’t give you general national numbers, but Transport for London has brought something like 28 prosecutions around the issue of guide dogs and taxis and has succeeded on at least 20 of those occasions. Action is being taken and there are broader issues that need to be captured.”

The comments that Lord Tebbit made reflect the experiences of many guide dog owners and their frustration at being denied access from places. Denying access to places such as taxis, hotels and restaurants is against the law. Whilst it is positive that Transport for London is taking action to prosecute taxi drivers who refuse access to assistance dogs, this is something that the government needs to take action on across the UK, not just in London. Additionally, I think guide dog owners would be interested to hear how the government are addressing access refusals from other places such as restaurants and hotels.

Here at Guide Dogs, we recently closed a survey of assistance dog owners to find out about their experiences of access and will be publishing the findings later this year, which we will be seeking to discuss with the next government. In the meantime guide dog owners can find out more about their access rights on our website.


Karl, 4:54pm Sun 5 Apr 2015:

I think the maximum fine needs to be increased to make it hurt that bit more. Also a public apology at their own expense. When you get service refusal it often makes you feel like a second class Crizten

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This blog is written by Guide Dogs Campaign Manager, James pictured here.

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