New rules tackling taxi discrimination against the disabled welcomed by St Albans MP

Taxis at St Albans Train station. Credit: Krishan Bhungar

Taxis at St Albans Train station. Credit: Krishan Bhungar - Credit: Archant

New rules which will force taxi drivers to take disabled fares have been welcomed by Anne Main MP.

The St Albans MP took up the cause after being contacted by Jennie Page, after she had been abandoned by a driver who refused to take her to the theatre.

Mrs Main said: “When Jennie contacted me about this issue over a year ago, I felt it was only right to contact the minister.

“This was something that Parliament legislated for some years ago, yet it was not enforced until early this month.”

The St Albans politician contacted the Department of Transport after speaking to Miss Page.

Transport minister Andrew Jones subsequently announced two sections of the Equality Act would be brought into force.

The two sections are Section 165, which forces taxi drivers to carry disabled people for no additional fare, and Section 167, which means local authorities will keep a list of disabled-friendly taxis.

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Drivers who discriminate against disabled people will now face a £1,000 fine, and could have their taxi licence ripped up.

The sections came into force on Thursday, April 6.

Mrs Main said: “I am glad to see that this legislation has now been enforced.

“The rights of disabled people are hugely important, and it is not before time that we have ended this sort of discrimination.

“I am delighted for constituents and people across the country who now have this wrong righted.

“Jennie was a wonderful and tireless campaigner, and I pay tribute to her hard work that helped bring about this change.”

Miss Page was featured in the Herts Advertiser last April after being refused service because she was not with a carer.

She said she was: “distressed, appalled, and wondering whether this reaction would be the ‘norm’ each time I wished to go out.

“Yes, I was a disabled woman in a wheelchair travelling alone, but is there anything unusual in that?”

Speaking after the new law came into force, Miss Page said: “It’s exhilarating that at long last it has been enforced and hopefully wheelchair users can benefit.

“They will hopefully perservere in requesting taxis and they will not get refused.

“Hopefully they will have the confidence to go forward with their lives, without further charge.”