Today, Geraint Davies, MP for Swansea West, spoke out in favour of improving the access of guide dog owners to public services and spaces.
Geraint Davies said, “Constituents from all over Wales came to parliament today demanding that MPs improve access for guide dog owners. They were rightly outraged that many guide dog owners have been denied access to public spaces and services across the UK in a clear breach of equality law.
“As many as three in four assistance dog owners have been refused access to a taxi, shop or restaurant because of their service animal. The practice of barring guide dogs from public spaces is inexcusable and I know from my constituents that this type of discrimination can be upsetting and isolating for blind and partially sighted people, as well as their families.
“Taxis and minicabs are the businesses most likely to refuse access to guide dog owners and its been reported that some even illegally charge customers to travel with their service dog. Shockingly, 20% of assistance dog owners have reported that a minicab or taxi arrived to collect them, but the driver drove off without even speaking to them when they realised the customer had a guide dog.
“I believe that blind and partially sighted people deserve dignity and compassion. Here in Swansea, service dogs are vital to many less abled people who wish to travel independently and feel involved in community life. That’s why I’m supporting Guide Dog UK’s Access All Areas campaign which is seeking to improve access to public spaces for guide dog owners and require taxi and minicab drivers to take part in equality training.”