A taxi driver has paid the price for driving away rather than picking up his pre-booked fare – a deaf/blind person and her assistance dog.
Perry Budu of Heelands, Milton Keynes, pleaded guilty by post to failing to collect a deaf/blind person with an assistance dog under Section 170 of the Equality Act 2010.
Zoe Nolan, Councillor for Loughton and Shenley, supported the resident making the complaint. Cllr Nolan said: “I’m delighted that this was brought to my attention. The action by MK Council has resulted in a clear message to ensure that those with registered assistance dogs are treated appropriately by taxi drivers”.
On 19 July 2019, Milton Keynes Magistrates fined Mr Budu £300 in his absence for the offence. He was also ordered to pay costs of £315 and a victim surcharge of £30.
At the time of the offence Mr Budu’s vehicle was operated by Speedline Taxis. He is currently licensed by Aylesbury Vale Council, which will take appropriate action concerning his licence.
The court heard that on 6 February 2019 a local resident, who is deaf/blind, booked a licensed vehicle with Skyline Taxis and when the driver attended her home he saw the dog and drove away without them.
Cllr Mick Legg, Chair of Milton Keynes Council’s Regulatory Committee, said: “This is an excellent result and demonstrates quite clearly that it is unlawful for a private hire driver to refuse to pick up a properly booked person with an assistance dog.”
He added: “I would like to personally thank the complainant for coming forward and reporting this matter to us. Milton Keynes Council has a ‘Zero Tolerance’ approach to offences under the Equality Act 2010 and this case clearly demonstrates our position.”