A city and county councillor has slammed the ‘illegal’ actions of three taxi firms who refused to pick up a disabled and partially sighted woman because she had her guide dog with her.
According to Worcester News, the woman was left in floods of tears after being turned away by three different black cabs while trying to get home from an Armistice Day service on Thursday, November 11.
Cllr Richard Udall, Labour spokesman for Licensing, has since condemned the decision and vowed to take further action to catch those responsible.
He said: “Their actions are simply illegal, it's disability discrimination, they have no excuses, no reasons and no right to refuse an assistant dog.
“As far as I am aware no Worcester taxi driver has applied for an exemption from the rules because of an allergy, they should all, without question or hesitation take a passenger with an assistance dog.
“It's time to get tough on these drivers, we have tried to persuade them, we have given warnings and its clear some are still refusing.
“We now need to use entrapment and ask a guide dog owner to try and hire a taxi and to take action against any driver who refuses.
“They need to understand, they cannot discriminate against anybody with disabilities, I will be asking for enforcement action to take place to ensure we catch those who are responsible and to take the necessary action against them.”
Cllr Udall used to play blind rugby in Worcester, acting as a sighted enabler for other players.
He said: "I used to pick up players from Foregate Street Station with their dogs because taxis often refused to take them to Sixways, I'm angry that despite numerous reminders that some taxi drivers are still ignoring the rules, it has to stop.”
Michelle Rasdall, owner of Mr Simms Olde Sweet Shoppe in High Street, Worcester, said the woman, a loyal customer, came in to their shop in floods of tears because she couldn't get home after being refused by three cabs.
"She was distraught and very distressed," Mrs Rasdall said.
Under the Equality Act guide dog owners have the right to enter the majority of services, premises and vehicles - including taxis - with their dog.
Right of entry laws also apply to all registered and trained assistance dogs like those which help with mobility, hearing and medical detection.