Position statement on sections 164 to 167A of the Equality Act 2010
Position statement on sections 164 to 167A of the Equality Act 2010 and the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022.
The provisions of the Taxi and Private Hire Vehicles (Disabled Persons) Act 2022 on the 28th June 2022, which has made some changes to the sections of the Equality Act 2010 relating to Taxis and Private hire licensing.
Section 167 of the Act provides licensing authorities with the powers to make lists of wheelchair accessible vehicles (i.e. "designated vehicles"), and section 165 of the Act then places duties on the drivers of those vehicles to carry passengers in wheelchairs and carry non-wheelchair using disabled people and any mobility aids they may be using, provide assistance to those passengers and prohibits them from charging extra for that assistance.
Section 1 of the new 2022 Act now extends the duty to carry disabled passengers to all Hackney Carriage (HC) and Private Hire drivers (PHV), not just those driving designated vehicles and inserts the new Section 164A into the Equality Act. Section 164A of the Equality Act ensures that the duty to carry the passenger and provide mobility assistance applies to disabled persons generally, and not those simply in wheelchairs who are provided for under Section 165.
Section 1(4) of the 2022 Act also inserts the new section 165A. This places the driver of a pre-booked HC or PHV, under the duty to assist the passenger to identify the vehicle when the driver has been made aware that the passenger or somebody accompanying the passenger is disabled.
The requirements of section 164A and165 do not apply to drivers who have a valid exemption certificate and are displaying a valid exemption notice in the prescribed manner. An exemption certificate can be issued under section 166 of the Act.
This allows the Authority to exempt drivers from the duties under section 165 where it is appropriate to do so, on medical grounds or because the driver's physical condition makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for them to comply with those duties.
Section 4 of the 2022 Act, inserts a new section into the Equality Act, Section 167A this makes it a criminal offence for a Private Hire operator to refuse to accept a booking, or make any additional charge for the journey, because the passenger is disabled, provided the reason for the refusal or failure to accept the booking is because the passenger is disabled or to prevent the driver having to fulfil nay of the duties imposed on the driver.
Maintaining a List of Designated Vehicles
Section 3 of the 2022 Act amends Section 167 of the 2010 Act making it a requirement of the licensing authority to maintain a designated list of wheelchair accessible Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Vehicles.
The Duties Placed on Drivers of Designated Vehicles
Section 165 of the Act sets out the duties placed on drivers of designated wheelchair accessible hackney carriage and private hire vehicles. The duties are:
- To carry the passenger while in the wheelchair or carry non-wheelchair using disabled people and any mobility aids they may be using, provide assistance to those passengers and prohibits them from charging extra for that assistance.
- Not to make any additional charge for doing so.
- If the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair.
- To take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort.
- To give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.
The act then goes on to define mobility assistance as assistance:
- To enable the passenger to get into or out of the vehicle.
- If the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair
- To load the passenger's luggage into or out of the vehicle.
- If the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair into or out of the vehicle.
- It is an offence for the driver (unless exempt) of a designated vehicle which is on the Authorities designated list, to fail to comply with these duties.
The Authority recognises that some types of wheelchairs, particularly some powered wheelchairs, may be unable to access some of the vehicles included in the Authority list.
For that reason, it indicates that the vehicles on the list should be accessible to users of "reference wheelchairs" as defined in Schedule 1 of The Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000.