Duties on drivers to assist passengers

The Equality Act places duties on drivers with designated wheelchair accessible taxis and PHVs to provide physical assistance to passengers in wheelchairs. These duties came into force on 6th April 2017.

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.

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.

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 department.

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 a special exemption notice which must be displayed in your vehicle so that passengers are aware.