If you are a taxi vehicle driver you must pay attention to taxi legislation, including the Equality Act of 2010. Changes in legislation came into effect in October 2010, which can affect your chosen career path. The Equality Act 2010 includes provisions that relate specifically to taxis, private hire vehicles and disability.
As an Act there are certain parts/sections that will not become actual law until the Government make a decision on when to provide commencement orders that will bring each part into force. The Government had intentions to bring many sections of the Act into force in October 2010 and did so with much success, with some of the provisions being specific to taxis, however there will be other provisions that will come into force in the run up to April 2011.
Provide assistance to those who use wheelchairs
Relating to taxi legislation the Equality Act 2010 places duties on drivers of designated wheelchair accessible private hire vehicles and taxis to provide physical assistance to their passengers that require the use of a wheelchair. Drivers of wheelchair accessible taxis or private hire vehicles must determine whether their licensing authority is going to keep a list of designated vehicles and if they are and the driver’s taxi is included on that list, they are required to provide assistance to those who use wheelchairs that may be passengers.
It may at first seem daunting that you have to provide assistance to wheelchair users that may be riding in your taxi, but it is fairly straightforward. Amongst the duties you must provide include carrying a passenger whilst in a wheelchair, to carry the wheelchair should the passenger choose to sit in a passenger seat, to ensure the passenger is carried safely and in reasonable comfort and to take any steps necessary to ensure this.
Should the passenger decide to remain in their wheelchair, the driver must provide aid to the passenger to get in and out of the taxi and if the passenger decides to change and sit in a seat, the driver is required to help the passenger out of the wheelchair, into a seat and back into the wheelchair, as well as storing the wheelchair in the vehicle safely.
In addition the driver must ensure they provide the passenger with mobility assistance as required and to not make an additional charge for these services. Mobility assistance, for those who are slightly unaware, means helping wheelchair-using passengers by providing physical assistance.
For those who’s licensing authority decides not to maintain a list of designated vehicles, the duties will not apply and do not need to be practiced. Should the driver have a back complaint that makes it awkward or painful to help a wheelchair users, then this driver is exempt providing their is evidence from a doctor to support the reasons on medical grounds. It is the licensing authority that determines who is exempt from this process, and should you disagree with their decision you have 28 days to appeal to the magistrates’ court.