VIDEO: Letchworth taxi driver refuses to take guide dog

A BLIND man has said he was unable to get a pre-booked taxi home because the driver would not allow his guide dog into the car.

Sean Dilley, from Stevenage, had arranged for Letchworth GC cab firm Gary’s Taxis to pick him up from Letchworth Sports and Tennis Club after being invited to play a game of blind tennis on Sunday evening but on arrival was refused entry because he was accompanied by his guide dog Chipp.

Mr Dilley, who was accompanied by a friend who filmed the incident (above), explained to the driver that it was against the law but to no avail.

“He outright refused so I asked why and he told me it’s because he’s a Muslim so he won’t breath in dog hairs,” said the 29-year-old, who was born partially sighted and has been blind for 15 years.

“I tried to persuade him and said he was breaking the law but he just wouldn’t do it.”

Mr Dilley, who works as a freelance political broadcaster, made a film last year for the BBC’s Daily Politics show to highlight how many businesses refused entry for guide dogs and said it was something he has experienced “often”.

“It’s just really upsetting that it happens, it’s not so much for my own sake that I want to highlight it but for people who may be intimidated and stop going out because it’s not worth the hassle,” he said.

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Mr Dilley has made a complaint to North Hertfordshire District Council, which licenses taxis in the district, and said he would pursue the matter himself if necessary.

Cllr Bernard Lovewell, NHDC’s portfolio holder for housing and environmental health, said: “We are currently investigating a complaint regarding an alleged incident with a North Herts licensed hackney carriage driver and a customer with a guide dog. Until we have concluded the investigation we cannot comment further.

“We would like to reassure residents that NHDC-licensed taxi drivers should not refuse a blind or partially sighted person from getting in to their taxi on the grounds that they wish an assistance dog to accompany them.”

The Comet contacted Gary’s Taxis but the business was unavailable for comment.