Equality Act 2010 - Transporting wheelchair users and assistance dogs
The Equality Act 2010, places licensed drivers under a legal duty to transport wheelchair users and also assistance dogs as required. Further details are outlined below:
- List of designated Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles
- Advice regarding the carrying of assistance dogs
- Medical exemption for drivers - how to apply
All taxis and private hire vehicles listed in the following document are licensed by Chichester District Council to transport a 'reference' wheelchair with dimensions:
- Height - 1350mm
- Length - 1200mm
- Width - 700mm
- Weight (including occupant) - less than or equal to between 250kg - 300kg (This will depend upon the maximum load stated on the ramp)
Taxis are those available for immediate hire from ranks within the Chichester District. The main ranks are located at Chichester Railway Station. Any private hire vehicles can be pre-booked via the operator (Subject to availability). In most instances you can look up the operator's contact details via the internet.
For any person whose wheelchair exceeds the dimensions stated above, please contact the operator to ascertain whether the vehicle satisfies your requirements. Many of the private hire vehicles listed are larger vehicles with tail lifts that can transport larger and heavier wheelchairs with ease.
Under Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010, licensed drivers of designated Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAV) must:
- Carry the passenger while in the wheelchair;
- Not to make any additional charge for doing so;
- If the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat to carry the wheelchair;
- To take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety (There is a defence available to a driver that it would have not been possible to carry the wheelchair safely in the vehicle) and reasonable comfort; and
- To give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.
A driver can obtain an exemption from these requirements on medical/physical grounds. If an exemption has been issued to the driver then a Notice of Exemption must be prominently displayed on the front windscreen.
Sections 168 to 171 of the Equality Act 2010 (The 'Act') deal with the carriage of guide dogs and other assistance dogs in England and Wales and came into force on 1 October 2010. Prior to 2010 similar provisions had been contained in the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995.
The Act requires drivers to carry guide dogs (and other assistance dogs) at no extra cost. Furthermore, the driver or operator must not treat the assistance dog owner less favourably because of their impairment.
A driver can apply to be exempt from this requirement, but only if they have a genuine medical condition and this is supported by sufficient evidence. Under such circumstances the council may exempt the driver from the requirement to carry assistance dogs. If an exemption has been issued to the driver then a Notice of Exemption must be prominently displayed on the front windscreen.
'Your guide to Assistance Dogs' produced by Transport for London provides a brief summary of the different types of assistance dogs and how to identify them.
If you believe you have a genuine medical condition that prevents you from being able to carry a wheelchair user in a designated WAV or prevents you from transporting an assistance dog, then please complete the form below.
If you wish to claim the medical exemption then they will be required to obtain information from your doctor or specialist detailing the following:
- What duties cannot be undertaken;
- Why they cannot be undertaken;
- Date the condition was first noted;
- Whether there are any modifications to the vehicle or the way the driver provides the service that would negate the need for an exemption;
- For how long the medical exemption will be refused for: and
- To provide any medical reports in support of the request being made.
The council may contact your GP in order to discuss the matter further.
The council reserves the right to refer the driver to the council's own medical or occupational health practitioner if a further assessment is felt necessary. Any additional costs will be borne by the driver.
If officers of the Licensing Team have any concerns regarding granting the exemption then the matter will be referred to the Licensing (General Purposes) Sub-Committee to determine. If refused then there is a right of appeal to the magistrates court within 28 days of the date of the refusal notice.
If the exemption is granted then you will be issued with an Exemption Certificate and Notice of Exemption. The Notice of Exemption must be exhibited in the vehicle by fixing it, facing outwards, either on the windscreen or in a prominent position on the dashboard.
If the exemption is time limited then the Exemption Certificate and Notice of Exemption must be returned to the Licensing Team within 7 days after the expiry date.