- new laws will ensure people with disabilities receive assistance and can travel with dignity and confidence
- people with disabilities protected from additional charges and fraudulent rates
- the changes will benefit 13.7 million people
New laws will ensure that the 13.7million people with disabilities in England, Scotland and Wales get the assistance they need and won’t be overcharged when using taxis and private hire vehicles (ORV).
The new Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022, which came into force on June 28, is the most significant change to taxi accessibility legislation since the introduction of the equality 12 years ago.
The 2022 Act amends the Equality Act 2010 to impose obligations on taxi drivers and PHV drivers and operators so that anyone with a disability has specific rights and protections to be transported and receive assistance when ‘she uses a taxi or PHV at no extra cost.
Under the changes, taxi and PHV drivers could face fines of up to £1,000 if they fail to provide reasonable mobility assistance to disabled passengers taking a pre-booked vehicle.
It will also ensure that visually impaired passengers will be assisted by drivers to help them identify or find the vehicle. Local authorities will also be required to publicly identify wheelchair accessible vehicles in their fleets.
The measures will apply to drivers in England, Scotland and Wales and will help ensure a consistent experience for affected passengers.
Wendy Morton, Minister of Accessibility, said:
It is fantastic that updated legislation and guidance is helping to ensure that all people with disabilities receive assistance when using taxis and ORV.
People with disabilities make up around one-fifth of the population and our inclusive transportation strategy makes travel more accessible to everyone.
The law was a private member’s bill introduced by Jeremy Wright QC MP. Another change will mean that even drivers with an exemption from assistance rights for medical reasons will still have to accept the carriage of disabled passengers and will not be able to charge them more than others.
Disability affects 13.7 million people in Britain. This includes physical and sensory conditions, as well as “not visible” impairments.
Amendments to the Equality Act 2010 were drawn up by the Department for Transport (DfT) as part of work in support of its 2018 Inclusive Transportation Strategy and intergovernmental commitments on improving access to taxi and PHV services and will benefit a wide range of passengers with disabilities, as well as to their friends and family.
In March 2022, DfT announced a £2.5million package to help people with disabilities travel with more confidence. This included funding for mobility hubs across England and to improve access to vital ferry services.
The updated legislation will build on the commitment we made and make travel more accessible for everyone.