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Cabbie banned for guide dog bar

A taxi driver has been disqualified from driving after he refused to let a blind customer bring her guide dog into his car.

Liakath Ali, 21, shouted ‘no dog’ at Paula Thomas, of London, leaving her distraught as she tried to enter the taxi, Westminster Magistrates heard.

It has been compulsory for licensed taxi drivers to carry guide dogs since the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Ali, of Woodstock Road, Bedford, was banned for seven days for refusing to carry a person with a guide dog.

District Judge Quinton Purdy rejected Ali's claim he has an allergy to dog hair and told him he behaved disgracefully. Mr Quinton said: ‘You knew they wanted a cab and offered no explanation at all. Your own doctor acknowledged no apparent problem with you.’

The hearing heard how Mrs Thomas and her husband Stephen, from Walthamstow, had left Highbury and Islington station in July last year to get a pre-booked cab, having informed the firm's controller of the guide dog - a black Labrador called Saddler. The allocated taxi was driven by Ali who refused them entry. They could only continue their journey when a passing police officer flagged them down another taxi.

In addition to the ban, Ali was ordered to pay £200 costs and a £200 fine.