Taxi drivers reminded of their responsibilities

Aberdeen taxi drivers of wheelchair accessible vehicles are being reminded of their responsibilities under the law in a letter issued by the city’s Licensing Committee.

Subject to a small number of exceptional circumstances such drivers cannot refuse to carry a passenger in a wheelchair. It is also the driver’s responsibility to ensure that all necessary equipment required to do so safely is in good working order before their vehicle is available for hire.

Any driver who is exempt from carrying out those duties on medical grounds must have their exemption certificate, issued by the licensing authority, on display for the information of prospective passengers.

Any licensed taxi driver who refuses to accept a wheelchair passenger, unless exempt for medical reasons or because it would not be possible for the wheelchair to be carried safely in the vehicle, is in breach of Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 and could face prosecution.

It is also a legal requirement for all licensed vehicles to carry a passenger with an assistance dog under Section 168 of the Equality Act 2010. The only exception is where a driver holds a valid exemption certificate issued by this authority under Section 169 of the Equality Act 2010.

Councillor John Reynolds, Convener of Aberdeen’s Licensing Committee said: “With the festive period being particularly busy with more people using taxis we thought it was an opportune time to remind taxi drivers of their responsibilities to wheelchair users and to passengers with assistance dogs.

“Aberdeen is a friendly place and we want to assure citizens and visitors to the city, that if they require a wheelchair accessible taxi or if they have an assistance dog and require a taxi, that our taxi drivers are customer-focused and happy to help.

“A very dim view will be taken of any taxi driver who refuses to provide a hire if they do not have an exemption certificate – it could even lead to them losing their licence.”

Any driver who is uncertain as to their requirement can contact the licensing department (licensing@aberdeencity.gov.uk) for further information. Any driver who requires an exemption certificate should contact the licensing department as soon as possible.