Blind woman refused ride in Harrogate taxi

Labrador / Golden Retriever Guide Dog studio portrait.
Labrador / Golden Retriever Guide Dog studio portrait.

A taxi driver who refused to give a lift to a blind woman with her guide dog has been fined by a court in Harrogate.

Cemil Guclu, a hackney carriage driver, was parked at the Station Parade taxi rank when he refused to let the guide dog into his car.

On Wednesday July 1, 2015 at Harrogate Magistrate Court, Guclu pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to carry an assistance dog in his taxi contrary to section 168 of the Equality Act 2010.

The court heard that he was told that the animal couldn’t be refused carriage. Both the dog’s owner and Mr Guclu subsequently reported the incident to Harrogate Borough Council’s Taxi Licensing team.

In mitigation, Guclu told the court he was fearful of dogs and for this reason did not want to carry the animal.

Guclu was fined £100, and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £20 and £325 towards the council’s prosecution costs, making a total of £445.

Coun John Ennis, Harrogate Borough Council’s Licensing Committee Chairman said: “Assistance dogs enable people who are blind or partially sighted to travel independently and if a taxi driver refuses to carry such an animal it can have a serious impact on the owner’s freedom of movement.

“I hope this conviction sends out a strong message to taxi drivers. Refusing to carry an assistance dog, unless you have a valid medical exemption certificate, is simply not an option. Anyone doing so will face a large fine and their action could have a serious impact on their livelihood.”