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Session 2008 - 09
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Equality Bill


 

Equality Bill
Part 12 — Disabled persons: transport
Chapter 1 — Taxis etc.

 
 

Clause 159: Passengers in wheelchairs: exemption certificates

Effect

524. The Secretary of State may make regulations which allow a licensing authority to

exempt a driver from the duties contained in clause 159 if it is satisfied that the driver cannot

provide assistance due to a medical or physical condition.

5

525. The exemption certificate must be displayed in the vehicle.

Background

526. This clause is designed the replicate the exemption provision that was contained in

section 36 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. An exemption certificate needs to be

exhibited on a taxi and must be carried in the private hire vehicle. The driver of a private hire

10

vehicle must show the certificate if requested by a disabled passenger or person accompanying

a disabled passenger.

Examples

• A driver is not required to provide physical assistance to help a passenger in a

wheelchair into and out of a vehicle if he is medically unfit to do so.

15

Clause 160: List of wheelchair-accessible vehicles

Effect

527. This clause permits a licensing authority to maintain a list of wheelchair accessible

taxis and private hire vehicles that serve an area. A licensing authority can restrict the list to

those taxis and private hire vehicles in its area that provide local bus services. The duties

20

contained in clause 158 will apply to drivers of taxis or private hire vehicles that appear on the

list of wheelchair accessible vehicles.

528. The clause permits the Secretary of State to issue guidance to licensing authorities and

the licensing authority must have regard to any guidance issued.

Background

25

529. This clause is designed to replicate some of the provisions contained in Section 36A

of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. It is also designed to enable licensing authorities to

designate the taxis and private hire vehicles in their area that are wheelchair accessible.

Examples

• A licensing authority will maintain a list of taxis and private hire vehicles that have

30

been designated as being wheelchair accessible in its area.

E118


 

Equality Bill
Part 12 — Disabled persons: transport
Chapter 1 — Taxis etc.

 
 

159     

Passengers in wheelchairs: exemption certificates

(1)   

A licensing authority must issue a person with a certificate exempting the

person from the duties imposed by section 158 (an “exemption certificate”) if

satisfied that it is appropriate to do so—

(a)   

on medical grounds, or

5

(b)   

on the ground that the person’s physical condition makes it impossible

or unreasonably difficult for the person to comply with those duties.

(2)   

An exemption certificate is valid for such period as is specified in the

certificate.

(3)   

The driver of a designated taxi is exempt from the duties imposed by section

10

158 if—

(a)   

an exemption certificate issued to the driver is in force, and

(b)   

the prescribed notice of the exemption is exhibited on the taxi in the

prescribed manner.

(4)   

The driver of a designated private hire vehicle is exempt from the duties

15

imposed by section 158 if—

(a)   

an exemption certificate issued to the driver is in force, and

(b)   

the prescribed notice of the exemption is exhibited on the vehicle in the

prescribed manner.

(5)   

For the purposes of this section a taxi or private hire vehicle is “designated” if

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it appears on a list maintained under section 160.

(6)   

In this section and section 160 “licensing authority”, in relation to any area,

means the authority responsible for licensing taxis or, as the case may be,

private hire vehicles in that area.

160     

Lists of wheelchair-accessible vehicles

25

(1)   

For the purposes of section 158 a licensing authority may maintain a list of

vehicles falling within subsection (2).

(2)   

A vehicle falls within this subsection if—

(a)   

it is either a taxi or a private hire vehicle, and

(b)   

it conforms to such accessibility requirements as the licensing authority

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thinks fit.

(3)   

A licensing authority may, if it thinks fit, decide that a vehicle may be included

on a list maintained under this section only if it being used, or is to be used, by

the holder of a special licence under that licence.

   

In this subsection “special licence” has the meaning given by section 12 of the

35

Transport Act 1985 (use of taxis or hire cars in providing local services).

(4)   

“Accessibility requirements” are requirements for securing that it is possible

for disabled persons in wheelchairs—

(a)   

to get into and out of vehicles in safety, and

(b)   

to travel in vehicles in safety and reasonable comfort,

40

   

either staying in their wheelchairs or not (depending on which they prefer).

(5)   

The Secretary of State may issue guidance to licensing authorities as to—

(a)   

the accessibility requirements which they should apply for the

purposes of this section;

118


 

Equality Bill
Part 12 — Disabled persons: transport
Chapter 1 — Taxis etc.

 
 

• The driver of a vehicle that is included on the list will provide assistance to passengers

in wheelchairs and will not charge them an additional fare.

Clause 161: Assistance dogs in taxis

Effect

530. This clause places duties on drivers of taxis to transport a disabled person’s assistance

5

dog, for example, a blind person’s guide dog, and allow it to stay with the passenger without

making any additional charge.

531. A driver of a taxi who refuses to carry an assistance dog commits an offence that is

punishable by a fine of up to £1,000.

Background

10

532. This clause is designed to replicate the main provision contained in section 37 of the

Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Examples

• A person with an assistance dog hails a taxi. The driver must not refuse to transport

the assistance dog and must let it accompany the passenger in the taxi.

15

Clause 162: Assistance dogs in taxis: exemption certificates

Effect

533. This clause permits a licensing authority to exempt a driver of a taxi from the duties

contained in clause 161 if it is satisfied that the driver cannot carry an assistance dog on

medical grounds, or that the vehicle is not suitable for the carriage of assistance dogs.

20

534. The exemption certificate must be displayed on the taxi.

Background

535. This clause is designed the replicate the exemption provision that was contained in

section 37 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Example

25

• A driver is not required to carry an assistance dog if he has a medically certified

allergy.

E119


 

Equality Bill
Part 12 — Disabled persons: transport
Chapter 1 — Taxis etc.

 
 

(b)   

any other aspect of their functions under or by virtue of this section.

(6)   

A licensing authority which maintains a list under subsection (1) must have

regard to any guidance issued under subsection (5).

161     

Assistance dogs in taxis

(1)   

This section imposes duties on the driver of a taxi which has been hired—

5

(a)   

by or for a disabled person who is accompanied by an assistance dog, or

(b)   

by another person who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person

with an assistance dog.

(2)   

The driver must—

(a)   

carry the disabled person’s dog and allow it to remain with that person;

10

(b)   

not make any additional charge for doing so.

(3)   

The driver of a taxi commits an offence by failing to comply with a duty

imposed by this section.

(4)   

A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable to a fine not exceeding

level 3 on the standard scale.

15

162     

Assistance dogs in taxis: exemption certificates

(1)   

A licensing authority must issue a person with a certificate exempting the

person from the duties imposed by section 161 (an “exemption certificate”) if

satisfied that it is appropriate to do so on medical grounds.

(2)   

In deciding whether to issue an exemption certificate the authority must have

20

regard, in particular, to the physical characteristics of the taxi which the person

drives or those of any kind of taxi in relation to which the person requires the

certificate.

(3)   

An exemption certificate is valid—

(a)   

in respect of a specified taxi or a specified kind of taxi;

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(b)   

for such period as is specified in the certificate.

(4)   

The driver of a taxi is exempt from the duties imposed by section 161 if—

(a)   

an exemption certificate issued to the driver is in force with respect to

the taxi, and

(b)   

the prescribed notice of the exemption is exhibited on the taxi in the

30

prescribed manner.

   

The power to make regulations under paragraph (b) is exercisable by the

Secretary of State.

(5)   

In this section “licensing authority” means—

119


 

Equality Bill
Part 12 — Disabled persons: transport
Chapter 1 — Taxis etc.

 
 

Clause 163: Assistance dogs in private hire vehicles

Effect

536. This clause places duties on operators and drivers of private hire vehicles to transport

a disabled person’s assistance dog and allow it to stay with the passenger without making any

additional charge.

5

537. An operator or driver of a private hire vehicle who refuses to carry an assistance dog

commits an offence that is punishable by a fine of up to £1,000.

Background

538. This clause is designed to replicate the main provision contained in section 37A of the

Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

10

Examples

• A driver of a private hire vehicle cannot impose an additional charge for carrying an

assistance dog.

• An operator of a fleet of private hire vehicles accepts a booking from a passenger with

an assistance dog. The driver cannot refuse to carry the assistance dog.

15

Clause 164 Assistance dogs in private hire vehicles: exemption certificates

Effect

539. This clause permits a licensing authority to exempt a driver of a private hire vehicle

from the duties contained in clause 163 if it is satisfied that the driver cannot carry an

assistance dog because of a medical condition, or that the vehicle is not suitable for the

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carriage of assistance dogs.

540. The exemption certificate must be displayed in the private hire vehicle.

E120


 

Equality Bill
Part 12 — Disabled persons: transport
Chapter 1 — Taxis etc.

 
 

(a)   

in relation to the area to which the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act

1869 applies, the Secretary of State or the holder of any office for the

time being designated by the Secretary of State;

(b)   

in relation to any other area in England and Wales, the authority

responsible for licensing taxis in that area.

5

163     

Assistance dogs in private hire vehicles

(1)   

The operator of a private hire vehicle (O) commits an offence by failing or

refusing to accept a booking for the vehicle—

(a)   

if the booking is requested by or on behalf of a disabled person or a

person who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person, and

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(b)   

the reason for the failure or refusal is that the disabled person will be

accompanied by an assistance dog.

(2)   

O commits an offence by making an additional charge for carrying an

assistance dog which is accompanying a disabled person.

(3)   

The driver of a private hire vehicle commits an offence by failing or refusing to

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carry out a booking accepted by O—

(a)   

if the booking is made by or on behalf of a disabled person or a person

who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person, and

(b)   

the reason for the failure or refusal is that the disabled person is

accompanied by an assistance dog.

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(4)   

A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable on summary

conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

(5)   

In this section—

“driver” means a person who holds a licence under—

(a)   

section 13 of the Private Hire Vehicles (London) Act 1998 (“the

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1998 Act”),

(b)   

section 51 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions)

Act 1976 (“the 1976 Act”), or

(c)   

an equivalent provision of a local enactment;

“licensing authority”, in relation to any area in England and Wales, means

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the authority responsible for licensing private hire vehicles in that area;

“operator” means a person who holds a licence under—

(a)   

section 3 of the 1998 Act,

(b)   

section 55 of the 1976 Act, or

(c)   

an equivalent provision of a local enactment;

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“private hire vehicle” means a vehicle licensed under—

(a)   

section 6 of the 1998 Act,

(b)   

section 48 of the 1976 Act, or

(c)   

an equivalent provision of a local enactment.

164     

Assistance dogs in private hire vehicles: exemption certificates

40

(1)   

A licensing authority must issue a driver with a certificate exempting the

driver from the offence under section 163(3) (an “exemption certificate”) if

satisfied that it is appropriate to do so on medical grounds.

120


 

Equality Bill
Part 12 — Disabled persons: transport
Chapter 1 — Taxis etc.

 
 

Background

541. This clause is designed the replicate the exemption provision that was contained in

section 37A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

Example

• A driver is not required to carry an assistance dog if he has a medically certified

5

allergy to dogs.

Clause 165: Appeals

Effect

542. If a taxi or a private hire vehicle driver is refused a certificate exempting him or her

from the requirements to assist disabled passengers in wheelchairs or to carry assistance dogs,

10

this clause gives a right of appeal to a magistrates’ court.

Background

543. This clause is designed to replicate the provisions of section 38 of the Disability

Discrimination Act 1995.

Example

15

• A taxi driver applies for a certificate exempting him from the requirement to assist

disabled passengers in wheelchairs because he has a bad back. His application is

refused by the licensing authority but the driver believes insufficient consideration was

given to the medical information supporting his application, so he lodges an appeal

within 28 days of the decision. The appeal is successful and the court directs the

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licensing authority to issue an exemption certificate to the driver.

Clause 166: Interpretation

Effect

544. This clause explains the meaning of the terms, “accessibility requirements”,

“assistance dog”, “taxi” and “taxi accessibility regulations”.

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E121


 
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