I have today (15 September 2010) published guidance notes about the sections of the Equality Act 2010 relating to taxis and private hire vehicles which are coming into force.
The Equality Act 2010 contains new provisions which will, when commenced, tighten the law by placing duties on taxi and PHV drivers to provide assistance to people in wheelchairs. Before these duties come into force, we are making provision for those drivers who themselves suffer from a condition which makes it difficult to provide assistance, to apply for an exemption from these duties. Drivers will be able to apply for these exemptions from October. I have today published guidance to local authorities and drivers to this effect so that they can prepare accordingly.
Also from October, the sections of the Equality Act 2010 which oblige taxi and PHV drivers and PHV operators to carry guide dogs will be commenced. This obligation is already prescribed in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, so in practice there will be no change for drivers. However, the guidance I have published today will reassure drivers and licensing authorities that any existing exemption notices which refer to the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 will still be valid once the Equality Act sections are commenced.
The guidance notes have been published on the department’s website and will be brought to the attention of all the taxi and licensing authorities and the principal taxi and PHV organisations.
Copies of the guidance notes have been placed in the libraries of both Houses.