Blind bloke refused taxi ride after driver claimed he was allergic to guide dogs

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A blind man and his guide dog were rudely refused a taxi ride by a cabbie who claimed to have allergies.

Elliott Ainley and his guide dog Legend called a Hackney Carriage after their usual route home was disrupted, but Elliott was further baffled when the cabbie refused to take them.

The taxi driver said he wouldn't give them a ride because of his "allergies', despite not holding an exemption certificate – a legal requirement in denying blind people access.

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After a frustrating conversation, Elliott and Legend were still denied access and forced to wait for another taxi.

Elliott said: "After I told the driver he was breaking the law by refusing to take us, he changed his tune slightly and offered to carry us. However, he wanted to place my guide dog in the boot with a back seat folded down so Legend could stick his head through into the passenger compartment, which is also illegal.

"The law states that assistance dogs must not be separated from their owner, so we couldn’t travel. Being stressed at this we walked to wait outside the Station Hotel for a few minutes to de-stress before we tried to get another taxi, which thankfully we managed to do and got home.

"I have reported the incident to licensing at Hull City Council and also Trans Pennine Express, as well as requesting any available CCTV footage, so the incident has started to be investigated. However, as guide dog refusals by taxis seem to be sadly on the increase, I feel the incident needs publicising to raise awareness as it is very much needed to help educate people and prevent this from happening again."

The incident happened outside of Hull Paragon Station on June 13.

Elliott said he was annoyed the taxi driver was so unaccommodating of someone with a disability, and has made a complaint in the hope no one will have to experience something similar.

A former head of the Hull Hackney Carriage Association said it was disgusting to deny access to people with disabilities.

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"The rules are simple, Hackney Carriage drivers have to take guide dogs as it is part of the regulations, much like wheelchairs. You can get an exemption certificate, but the only way you can get one is by being allergic to dogs," said Peter Nilsson.

"If that exemption certificate is not in the window, then chances are that the driver just doesn't want a dog in his taxi. We are professional drivers doing a professional job, and to deny members of the public with disabilities access to our taxis is disgusting.

"In my opinion, if a driver denies a guide dog access when they are not exempt, they should have their licence removed and never be allowed to be a taxi driver again."

A spokesperson for Hull City Council said: "This case has been brought to our attention and we are investigating it. Whilst we obviously can’t comment on this specific case until the investigation has concluded, we can say that as a matter of policy unless they have an exemption certificate, most licensed drivers are expected to carry assistance dogs."

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