The Member of Parliament for Eastleigh, Mims Davies, met people from across the south coast alongside their Guide Dogs in the historic surroundings of Westminster Hall on Wednesday to hear their comments about being denied services such as taxi rides because of their guide dog. She also met with guide dogs in training and heard about the rigorous work that goes in to ensuring that the dogs can keep their owners safe when out and about.
In a one-year period, 42% of assistance dog owners were refused entry to a taxi or minicab because of their dog. 33% of assistance dog owners surveyed were refused entry to a minicab or taxi because the driver said they had an allergy but didn't hold a valid medical exemption certificate as legally required. 20% of assistance dog owners surveyed said that a minicab or taxi arrived but the driver drove off without even speaking to them.
Commenting, Eastleigh MP, Mims Davies said:
“It was great to meet the team from Guide Dogs as well as people local to our area and of course their trusted furry companions on Wednesday! I was shocked to hear about the discrimination local visually impaired people are facing, alongside many other challenges such as pavement surfaces and town centre layouts, something I experienced first-hand in Eastleigh alongside local campaigners and Gyp the guide dog last April.
“Guide dogs and other types of assistance dogs support those who need them to live independent lives and hugely contribute to their wellbeing. These dogs are essential to their owner’s day to day lives and are much more than pets, to not allow someone access to a business or taxi just because they have a service dog is the same as discriminating against anyone else with a disability and is not acceptable.”