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Travel and safety advice for users of wheelchairs and assistance dogs

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

Section 165 of the of the Equalities Act 2010 sets out the duties placed on drivers of designated wheelchair-accessible taxis and private hire vehicles (PHV).

The duties are:

  • To 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 in the vehicle
  • To take such steps as are necessary to ensure the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort
  • To give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.


The Act then defines mobility assistance as:

  • To enable the passenger to get in or out of the vehicle
  • If the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get in and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair
  • To load the passenger's luggage in or out of the vehicle
  • If the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair in or out of the vehicle

The council has published a list of excel icon Wheelchair accessible vehicles [32kb] in Runnymede, this is updated regularly and contains contact details to help make your booking. If you have any questions or difficulties please contact the licensing section.

Unless exempt, it is an offence for the driver of a taxi or PHV on the licensing authority's designated list to fail to comply.

Although each situation will be different, we take the view that reasonable mobility assistance will be subject to other applicable laws, including health and safety legislation.

We always expect drivers to provide assistance. This might include folding manual wheelchairs and placing them in the luggage compartment, installing the boarding ramp, or securing a wheelchair within the passenger compartment.

Depending on the weight of the wheelchair, and the capability of the driver, reasonable mobility assistance could also include pushing a manual wheelchair or light-electric wheelchair up a ramp, or stowing a light-electric wheelchair in the luggage compartment.

The requirement not to charge a wheelchair user extra means a meter should not be left running while the driver performs duties required by the Act, or the passenger enters, leaves, or secures their wheelchair within the passenger compartment.

Some drivers may have a medical condition, a disability, or physical condition, that makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for them to provide the sort of physical assistance required.

That is why the Act under Section 166 allows councils to grant exemptions to individual drivers.

 


Assistance Dogs

Under the Equality Act 2010, licensed drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles are under a duty to carry passengers with guide, hearing and other assistance dogs without additional charge. Drivers can apply for to the Council for a certificate exempting them from carrying assistance dogs on medical grounds. None of the drivers licensed by Runnymede currently have a exemption certificate, drivers licensed by other Councils may have these.

Runnymede will take any refusal to carry assistance dogs very seriously, if you are unfortunate enough to be refused carriage of your assistance dog please obtain as much information as possible about the driver / vehicle and inform the licensing team.

The Guide Dogs Association has produced a video to help drivers understand the needs of people with assistance dogs, please make yourself aware of these very useful tips.


Seatbelts

The law regarding seatbelts can be confusing and there are some exemptions for taxis and private hire vehicles, The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) produce a useful guide to this. Seat belt law


Personal Safety Guide

Taxis and private hire vehicles must be licensed to be able to work. Councils throughout the country are responsible for licensing drivers and vehicles who work in their Council areas (Boroughs) but these drivers and vehicles can also work legally in other areas on a pre-booked basis.

The Council as a licensing authority is responsible for ensuring drivers and vehicles provide you with a safe means of transport. Each Council will have it's own standards and requirements.

Drivers in Runnymede are subject to a knowledge test to ensure they know their way around the area, driving licence checks, enhanced criminal record checks, right to work / leave to remain checks and medical tests to ensure they are safe and suitable while vehicles are required to be of a specific standard and regularly inspected.

Vehicles and drivers which are licensed by other Councils can be found working legally in Runnymede.

It has been known for people to operate illegally, such as without a driver's or vehicle licence from the Council. As well as being illegal it puts you at risk as you will not be covered by any insurance and the driver and vehicle may not have had any safety checks.

In the interest of your own safety there are a number of simple steps you can take to ensure you are getting into a licensed vehicle with a licensed driver.

You can download or print a pdf icon Taxisafe leaflet [126kb]. The Taxi safe guidelines are also listed below.

 

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