The Department for Transport (DfT) has introduced a new Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act to protect people with disabilities from being charged over the odds when pre-booking and using such transport.
Because people with disabilities may need extra assistance from taxi drivers (such as help getting in and out of the taxi, or locating and identifying the vehicle) they are often faced with extra charges.
Taxi and PHV drivers who fail to comply could be fined up to £1,000
The 2022 Act places duties on taxi drivers and PHV drivers and operators, so any disabled person has specific rights and protections to be transported and receive assistance when using a taxi or PHV without being charged extra.
Another change will mean that even drivers granted exemption from assistance duties on account of medical needs must still accept the carriage of disabled passengers and will not be able to charge them more than others.
If taxi and PHV drivers fail to provide reasonable mobility assistance to disabled passengers, they could be fined up to £1,000.
Providing consistency of experience for affected passengers
The Accessibility Minister, Wendy Morton, hopes the measures will help to provide consistency of experience for affected passengers. She said:
“It is fantastic that the updated legislation and guidance will help ensure that all disabled people receive assistance when using taxis and PHVs.
“Disabled people account for around a fifth of the population and our Inclusive Transport Strategy is making travel more accessible for all.”
The new laws are part of the Inclusive Transport Strategy
The Act came into effect on 28 June and has been developed as part of the Inclusive Transport Strategy, which aims to benefit the 13.7 million people in Great Britain who are affected by disability.
The DFT say this updated legislation builds on the existing commitment it made to make travel more accessible for all, with work ongoing to improve mobility centres and to enhance access to lifeline ferry services.