Taxi driver prosecuted over guide dog refusal
Published on 11 November 2016
A TAXI driver who refused to take a passenger with a guide dog has been prosecuted.
Ahmed Kayd, aged 42, of Colsterdale Close, Beaumont Leys, refused to take passenger Charles Bloch, who is registered blind, because it would mean bringing his guide dog Carlo in the vehicle.
Following the incident in April 2016, Mr Bloch complained to Kayd’s employer Uber, and also reported the matter to Leicester City Council’s licensing department.
This week, Kayd was prosecuted after he pleaded guilty to the offence of refusing to convey a guide dog, which is an offence under the Equality Act 2010.
He appeared before Leicester magistrates on November 9, where he was fined £140, ordered to pay £327 costs, and a victim surcharge of £30.
The court heard how Mr Bloch had booked a taxi using the Uber mobile phone app on April 22, 2016, to pick him and his partner up from his home in order to take his guide dog Carlo to Spinney Hill Park.
Mr Bloch contacted the driver beforehand via an option on the Uber app, telling him he would be bringing a guide dog.
Kayd, who had only held a taxi driver’s licence since November 2015, seemed unclear what a guide or assistance dog, and asked Mr Bloch whether the dog would try to lick him, the court heard.
He then said that he couldn’t take dogs as it was against his religion and he didn’t like them, despite Mr Bloch explaining that it was illegal to refuse him.
After the phone call ended, Mr Bloch left feedback on the Uber app explaining Kayd’s actions – Kayd then rang back and was apologetic, by which time Mr Bloch had made alternative travel arrangements.
Leicester assistant city mayor for culture, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: "Taxi drivers are legally required to accept bookings from passengers with assistance dogs, unless the driver has been granted an exemption certificate by the local authority.
“In this case, the driver didn’t have any legitimate reason not to accept Mr Bloch and Carlo.
"We are pleased with the successful prosecution and hope that it sends a clear message that we will not tolerate any discrimination.”