Ian Lavery tested his taxi-hailing skills at last week’s Labour Party Conference in a football-themed game with Guide Dogs that had a serious message.
While trying to get a taxi to take guide dog owner Jacqueline to her local football match, the MP for Wansbeck heard about the real problems assistance dog owners face when being illegally refused by taxis and minicabs.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for a taxi or minicab driver to refuse to take an assistance dog or to charge extra for carrying it.
However, Guide Dogs research found that 42 per cent of assistance dog owners have been turned away by a taxi or minicab in a one-year period because of their dog and 38 per cent of them have been asked to pay an extra fare for carrying their dog.
Mr Lavery is backing the charity’s call for all taxi and minicab drivers to undertake disability equality training so they understand the rights and needs of disabled passengers and feel confident to offer assistance.
He said: “I commend the work done by Guide Dogs to keep this issue at the forefront of people’s minds and on behalf of my constituents in Wansbeck, I would like to pledge my support.”