Private hire driver fined for refusing blind passenger

A guide dog. Credit: Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/DPA/PA Images

A private hire driver has been fined by the courts for refusing a passenger, who is blind, because they had a guide dog.

Hidayat Qahar had accepted a job collecting a passenger from Middlesbrough Railway Station to take her to her home in the town knowing the additional requirements of the fare.

However, when he arrived Qahar stated that he wouldn’t be able to transport the passenger because she had a dog. He then drove away leaving the passenger stranded.

After taking advice from the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association the passenger complained to Middlesbrough Council who, following investigations, brought a prosecution under the Equality Act 2010, which makes it an offence for a driver of a private hire vehicle to refuse to carry a passenger accompanied by an assistance dog.

The matter was heard at Teesside Magistrates Court, where 29-year-old Qahar, of Monkland Close, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to the offence.

He was fined £40 with a £30 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £200 costs.