How does the Equality Act 2010 affect taxi drivers?

General duties under the Act

A taxi driver falls into the category of “service provider” under the Equality Act 2010. Service providers are prohibited from discriminating against, harassing and victimising persons who possess the following “protected characteristics”:

  • Age (the provisions of the Act relating to age have, however, yet to come into force);

  • disability;

  • gender reassignment;

  • pregnancy and maternity;

  • race ;

  • religion or belief;

  • sex;

  • sexual orientation.

In addition, except in the case of pregnancy and maternity, the Act also protects

People who are unfairly treated because they are wrongly perceived to have a particular characteristic (or are treated as though they had it) or because they associate with someone who has one of the above characteristics.

Obligations in relation to disabled passengers

Assisting passengers in wheelchairs

This provision has yet to come into force but is expected to come into force not before April 2011.

When it does come into force drivers of “designated” wheelchair accessible taxis and private hire vehicles will be required to provide physical assistance to passengers in wheelchairs. This will include:

  • where a passenger wishes to remain in their wheelchair, helping them get into and out of the vehicle;

  • carrying wheelchairs where a passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat and helping the passenger into a seat and back into the wheelchair;

  • ensuring that steps are taken to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort;

  • loading the passenger’s luggage into and out of the vehicle;

  • giving the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.

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For more information on:

  • Guide dogs
  • How is the Act enforced?