Duties on drivers to assist passengers

Section 165 of The Equality Act sets out the duties placed on drivers of designated wheelchair-accessible taxis and PHVs to provide physical assistance to passengers in wheelchairs and prohibits them from charging extra.

The duties will apply to the driver of any wheelchair-accessible taxi or PHV which is on the councils designated list.

If your wheelchair-accessible vehicle is on the list, you will be required to carry out the duties to assist wheelchair users.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle list designated for the purposes of Section 165 of the Act.

What are the duties of the driver

The duties being placed on the drivers of designated wheelchair accessible taxis and PHVs are:

  • to carry the passenger while in a wheelchair
  • not to make any additional charge for doing so
  • if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair
  • to take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort; and
  • to give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required. 

The Act then goes on to define mobility assistance as assistance:

  • to enable the passenger to get into or out of the vehicle;
  • if the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair;
  • to load the passenger’s luggage into or out of the vehicle;
  • if the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair into or out of the vehicle

Guide dogs

There are also duties on taxi and PHV drivers and on PHV operators to carry guide dogs and other assistance dogs.

Exemption from duties

The Equality Act allows for exemptions from the duties on medical grounds or if the driver’s physical condition makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for him or her to comply with those duties.

If you wish to apply for an exemption you should do so as soon as possible by contacting the licensing team.

The legislation allows a driver to appeal to the magistrates’ court within 28 days if the council decides not to issue an exemption certificate.

If you are granted exemption, you will be provided with an exemption certificate and an exemption notice which must be displayed in your vehicle so that passengers are aware.