Guide dog banned from getting into a taxi

Marathon runner and fundraiser, Dave Heeley, known in his home town of West Bromwich as “Blind Dave Heeley” has won a legal triumph after Wicksie, his guide dog, was banned from a taxi.

The offence happened in October 2010, a week of the Equalities Act coming into force.

Taxi Driver Wali Khan, confessed to barring a disabled person from his taxi, even though he had a booking confirmation confirming Heeley had a guide dog.

With the help of Sandwell Council, Khan was ordered to pay a total £665 in the case. The case was also supported by taxi firms, private hire insurance companies and the general public.

“I think it was important to take this case to court. It is a success for all other deaf, blind and physically disabled people” 53 year old Heeley said.

He followed on to say “I’m big and ugly enough to handle majority of situations – but what if it had been someone else who wouldn’t have stood up for themselves? They would have been left in a very exposed situation indeed”.

Heeley has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity and is best known for completing seven marathons in seven days on seven continents in 2008.

He explains that he has used this particular cab company for years and will continue to do so as he has no complaints against them. Heeley said “The small number of taxi drivers who don’t stick to the law should be reminded of how their actions can affect a deaf or blind person’s quality of life. However, the vast majority of taxi drivers are fantastic”.

Marc Rowley, owner of XL, a private hire company, said “This was an isolated incident which upset everyone here at XL, as we do a lot of business for people with visual impairments”.

“Dave is one of our top customers and we are happy he continues to use our services. We take responsibilities to people with disabilities very seriously” Rowley said.

Rowley said Khan was no longer working for XL private hire firm.

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