Edinburgh West MP, Christine Jardine, has raised the problem of guide dog owners being refused access to taxis and minicabs at a time of year when many people will be travelling to visit family and friends.
Ms Jardine has tabled an early day motion on the issue after meeting a constituent who had been refused access to a taxi at one of her office surgeries. She also visited the Access all Areas Christmas event at Westminster to meet guide dog owners and show her support for the campaign.
The Access all Areas campaign is being run by Guide Dogs UK and is aiming to ensure that all taxi and minicab drivers receive disability equality training.
Research undertaken by Guide Dogs UK showed that 42% of assistance dog owners were refused access to taxis and minicabs in a one year period.
Ms Jardine is now hopeful that her motion will help Guide Dogs UK to raise awareness of the campaign and press the Government to act. She commented:
‘A disability should never act as a barrier to someone. The simple act of getting into a taxi should be exactly that; simple.
“Instead, I was appalled when one of my constituents brought to my attention just how often assistance dog owners being turned away from taxis and minicabs. I can’t imagine how degrading that must feel.
“This is no way to treat anyone and I am hopeful that we can start making important changes in Parliament to prevent it from happening in the future.
“Guide Dogs UK do a wonderful job in many areas and I am hugely supportive of ‘Access all Areas’. I was delighted to meet with them today to find out how the campaign is gathering momentum and encouraging wider accessibility.
“I would urge anyone to find out how they can help, and I hope my colleagues will add their support to my motion.”