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Guide dog owners want tougher penalties for taxi refusals

Guide dog owners want tougher punishments for taxi drivers who turn refuse to take assistance dogs in their cab.

The charity Guide Dogs said owners are being penalised for their disability with “shocking regularity” and that it causes distress and knocks confidence.

Research from the charity claimed the number of prosecutions was low and that in most cases the fines were as low as £50 to £100 – no more than those who dodge train fares, it said.

Guide Dogs senior campaigner James White commented: “Imagine you were turned away by a driver. This happens to people living with sight loss with shocking regularity just because they are accompanied by a guide dog.

“It’s not only illegal, it knocks people’s confidence and stops them doing the everyday things that most people take for granted. We want tougher sentences for drivers who turn away assistance dog owners.”

White said educating cabbies might help with the problem. “We would also like to see the introduction of disability awareness training for all taxi and minicab drivers across Britain.”

Dozens of guide dog owners are said to be visiting Parliament on Wednesday the 25th of May to make their issue known.

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