Woman And Guide Dog Refused Ride
CANADA – Not only was Diane Bergeron’s flight delayed last Sunday but so was her ride home – because a line of taxis refused to give her and her seeing eye dog a lift.
Bergeron, a coordinator with the Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities, is blind and is normally escorted by her guide dog, Max. When she tried to get a cab ride into Fort McMurray, she was refused service because of Max.
According to the Blind Persons’ Rights Act, no one can be denied access because of a guide dog. Fines for doing so range from $100 to around $1,000.
Ron MacNeill, owner of Sun Taxi said that some employees cite allergies or religious convictions as reasons for denying service to a customer. He said he can’t force a driver to provide service.
MacNeill said that Sun Taxi will accommodate guide dogs if notice is given in advance. That way, the driver is aware of the situation and should not refuse service.
In a similar case in London, a couple with a guide dog made prior arrangements with a taxi company and were still refused service when the taxi arrived. The driver gave no explanation as to why he would not allow the dog in the car. He repeatedly told the couple, “I’m not taking the dog.”
The driver later said that he had an allergy to dog hair. Drivers with allergies are required to have a medical exemption certificate displayed in the cab. A failure to do so or refusing service can carry a hefty fine, points to a license or the suspension of a license. Ali failed to provide this certificate.
Fortunately for Bergeron, an eyewitness to the incident gave her and Max a ride home. To add some irony to the story, she recently gave a speech on how to better accommodate people with disabilities.
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