Position statement on sections 165 to 167 of the Equality Act 2010
The government commenced sections 165 and 167 of the Equality Act 2010 on the 6th April 2017.
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, provide assistance to those passengers and prohibits them from charging extra for that assistance.
The requirements of section 165 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.
Maintaining a List of Designated Vehicles
Section 167 of the Act permits, but does not require, a licensing authority to maintain a designated list of wheelchair accessible hackney carriage and private hire vehicles.
Whilst not under a specific legal duty to maintain a list of designated vehicles, Hastings Borough Council has decided that it will do so. The list can be accessed below:
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
- 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.