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Blind woman who was refused Uber taxis takes drivers to court for discrimination

Jade Sharp. Credit: ITV London

Uber is designed to be user friendly, one tap and a cab comes to you. It hasn't been as simple as that for Jade Sharp, who's blind.

Too often, shes been treated differently by drivers who discriminate.

Turned down a total of nine times since March last year.

I just find it humiliating because anyone should just be able to call a taxi, jump in and go to wherever they want.

I should not be having these problems just because I've got a disability, just because I've got a guide dog.

– Jade Sharp

Her guide Dog, 5-year-old Brodie, the reason Jade is refused.

Drivers who are adamant they don't take pets, are breaching equality laws - because Brodie is a Guide Dog.

I'm just trying to be independent and all these barriers are just getting in the way.

Uber is such a big company, their drivers, they should know what a guide dog is they, should know what an assistance dog is.

It's against the law to refuse a guide dog.

– Jade Sharp

We spoke to Uber and general manager for London Tom Elvidge who said: "This is not an experience that anybody should have to go through, the law is very clear on this and we, of course, hold exactly the same view. Our expectation of every single Uber driver is that guide dogs are not refused."

And yet, it keeps on happening. Today Jade and her parents arrived at court for the the fifth time, to face the latest driver.

Ratnasingam Thayaparan is the driver who last June, refused Jade.

He was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine.

"I was fined £365 because I didn't accept a guide dog. The problem is I misunderstood on the phone - that's why it happened."

This has to stop happening now, the message has to get to Uber and other Private Hire vehicle offices that it's unacceptable.

Guide dog owners need their dogs to get around.

The question shouldn't be asked whether or not they take dogs.

– Rob Harris, Guide Dogs

With more discrimination cases against Uber drivers to come, Jade continues to fight for equality.