A blind woman who was turned down by Uber taxis a total of nine times has launched a discrimination case against the app-based taxi firm – and one driver has already been fined.
Jade Sharp, London, was refused cabs by drivers adamant that they did not take pets – despite the fact that Ms Sharp relies on her 5-year-old guide dog, Brodie, to act as her eyes.
However, the disgruntled drivers in question are breaching equality laws – which bestow certain rights upon guide dogs allowing the essential pets permanent access to public transport.
“I just find it humiliating because anyone should just be able to call a taxi, jump in and go to wherever they want. I should not be having these problems just because I’ve got a disability, just because I’ve got a guide dog,” said Ms Sharp.
One Uber driver, Mr Ratnasingam Thayaparan, has already been fined £365 for refusing Ms Sharp access to his cab.
The driver insisted that he misunderstood Ms Sharp on the phone when she first ordered the taxi to her London home.
“Uber is such a big company, their drivers should know what a guide dog is and they should know what an assistance dog is.
“It’s against the law to refuse a guide dog,” Ms Sharp said.
Rob Harris, Guide Dogs UK, said: “This has to stop happening now, the message has to get to Uber and other Private Hire vehicle offices that it’s unacceptable.
“Guide dog owners need their dogs to get around – the question shouldn’t be asked whether or not they take dogs”.