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Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Accessibility

Person in a wheelchair

Changes to the Disability Equality Act 2010

In June 2022 substantial changes came into force which impact all taxi / private hire drivers and private hire operators. The new Act is called the "Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 and imposes duties on both drivers and operators to ensure that ALL disabled passengers, whether their disability is visible or not, are not discriminated against.

Drivers

The recent changes aim to reduce discrimination against disabled people and address the barriers they face when accessing hackney carriage and private hire vehicles. These changes have a significant impact on how drivers deal with  passengers. Drivers found to be neglecting these duties may be prosecuted and can face a fine of up to £1000, along with potential action against their private hire or hackney driver's licence.

All drivers are required to:

  • take such steps as are reasonable to help disabled passengers to identify and find the vehicle which they have booked. This would be on the conditions that the driver has been made aware, before the start of the journey, that the passenger requires assistance to identify or find the vehicle. This would be particularly helpful to visually impaired passengers and those with learning disabilities or cognitive impairments;
  • carry a passenger, regardless of disability or impairment;
  • if the passenger is in, or has with them, a wheelchair, to carry the wheelchair at no extra cost; 
  • if the passenger is in, or has with them, a mobility aid, to carry the mobility aid at no extra cost; 
  • give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required. This may involve helping a passenger transfer to the vehicle, folding wheelchairs, adjusting seats, or any other reasonable modification to ensure that the journey is safe and comfortable;
  • carry an assistance dog if asked, at no extra charge, and allow the dog to remain with the passenger;
  • not make, or propose to make, any additional charge for complying with the duties mentioned above.

Operators

All private hire operators have a duty to ensure that when a vehicle is booked by, or on behalf of, a disabled person, or by someone travelling with a disabled person, that the booking is accepted, and that no additional charge is made for the booking, if they are made aware of the disability at the time of booking.

We recommend that all booking staff double check with all customers, at the point of booking, if any additional assistance is required.

Exemption Notices

Any driver who holds a medical exemption notice will be exempt from providing assistance with carrying a wheelchair and / or the duties to provide assistance with mobility. Other duties still apply to drivers holding medical exemptions, such as transporting the passenger and not making any additional charges.

To apply for a medical exemption notice on medical grounds, please complete the application form application form. (PDF) [73KB]

Drivers who are exempt from providing mobility assistance will be issued with a notice to be kept in the vehicle whilst they are working. The notice is not transferable - if another driver shares the vehicle, the notice must be removed from the vehicle when the other driver is using the vehicle.

The Department of Transport - Statutory Guidance

The Department of Transport has published statutory guidance on the requirements at GOV.UK - Access to taxis and private hire vehicles for disabled users.

The GOV.UK - Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC) provide guidance on making private hire services more accessible to disabled people. (PDF) [292KB] .

Access for Wheelchair using passengers

The GOV.UK - Equality Act 2010 specifies that drivers of wheelchair accessible hackney carriages and private hire vehicles included on the list commit a criminal offence if they:

  • refuse to carry a wheelchair user
  • charge extra for carrying a wheelchair user
  • fail to provide reasonable assistance to the passenger unless they hold an exemption certificate

All our 187 hackney carriages, and some of the private hire vehicles, are wheelchair accessible.

We have also produced a user guide on how to transport a person in a wheelchair. 

View transporting a wheelchair user guide

Access for assistance dogs

All licensed drivers have a duty to carry assistance dogs, unless they are exempt by way of a medical condition. Assistance dogs include:

  • guide dogs for the blind or partially sighted
  • dogs for the hard of hearing
  • other assistance dogs which assist disabled people with a physical impairment

The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association provide a guidance document for access to taxis and minicabs for guide dog owners and other blind and partially sighted people (PDF) [990KB] .

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