Call to help blind taxi users in Shropshire

Calls have been made for authorities in Shropshire to educate taxi drivers on welcoming blind people with guide dogs into their taxis.

Under the Equality Act 2010, licensed drivers of taxis and private hire vehicles are under a duty to carry passengers who require a guide dog.

However Andrew Farrell, of Guide Dogs, said a number of cases have been reported across the region of taxi drivers refusing to take fares because they have a guide dog.

Contact has been made with Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Council in a bid to educate the drivers about the matter.

Mr Farrell believes it isn't always the drivers fault as they haven't been given the proper training.

He said: "We have seen it becoming an increasing problem across the area, with people with a dog being refused.

"Under law they should be able to get in a taxi with their dogs, but some refuse and this needs to change.

"It can cause issues with a blind person as they will be worried about booking a certain taxi driver, or even booking a taxi at all.

"It isn't the drivers fault, they need to be educated on the matter."

Owen Paterson walks blindfolded through Oswestry

He was speaking at an event in Oswestry where North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson met blind people to talk about their issues and problems in the area.

The MP said he would assist in any issues he could and contact the relevant authorities regarding problems.

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Lyn Stapley, from Oswestry, who uses a guide dog, said issues with taxi drivers are a problem.

She also said as a blind person using buses also posed a big issue.

She said: "Because there is no information shouted out about the stop, I have sometimes found myself being dropped off at the next stop and not knowing where I am.

"On trains it is fine, but on buses it is a struggle so I sometimes avoid buses and rely on lifts."

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