United Kingdom - Article 9

Two aspect of this article have been examined;

  1. Rail travel
     
  2. Guide dogs

Rail

National Rail Travel
Regional Rail Travel
Urban Rail Travel
Transnational Rail Travel
Visiting the UK
 

National Rail Travel

In the UK the visually impaired and the guide or guide dog all receive a discounted rate (up to 50% each or one full fare ticket to cover both passengers) on the national rail network. By and large semi-private and private carriers operating at national level do not apply the concessions endorsed by public rail companies.

 

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Regional Rail Travel

No information.

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Urban Rail Travel

No information

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Transnational Rail Travel

The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) signed the IUR Agreement on Rail Transport for Blind People and their Guide issued in 1997 and amended in 2005. Visually impaired people residing in and travelling to any of the countries who signed this Agreement are entitled to a free ticket for their guide or guide dog provided that the return ticket is purchased in the country where the disability card was issued. In practice the Agreement does not apply to additional fees such as ‘reservation' or ‘couchette' which must be paid in full for both passengers. Furthermore, a survey conducted by EBU in 2000 revealed that in many countries the Agreement was not well known or was simply ignored by transport operators and authorities.

The signatories of the agreement are companies rather than States and many of the existing transnational routes are not covered by the Agreement. The high-speed Eurostar (England-France-Belgium) operates a full fare for the visually impaired passenger and offers a 60% discount to the guide.
 

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Visiting the UK

In theory, it is impossible to benefit from UK schemes as a foreign visitor as locally-financed concessions are limited to local residents. In practice, concessions are sometimes granted depending on the willingness of ticket vendors. Guide dogs travelling to the UK are subject to quarantine regulations.
 

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Guide Dogs

 

 

 

  1. How many guide dog users are there in your country? The number of guide dogs varies on a day to day basis as new dogs enter service and others are withdrawn. Please provide an estimate figure.

    Approximately 4600 guide dog owners.

  2. What regulations, if any, govern guide dogs access to:

     

    1. Public buildings (administration, hospitals, schools, etc.)

      Equality Act 2010.

    2. Cultural and sports facilities (cinemas, theatres, museums, libraries, stadiums etc.)

      Equality Act 2010.

    3. Leisure facilities (restaurants, hotels, holiday centres, beaches, etc.)

      Equality Act 2010.

    4. Retail facilities (supermarkets, department stores, shops, etc.)

      Equality Act 2010.
       

    5. Public transport

    Equality Act 2010.
     

    1. trains

      Booking and travel on buses, trains, underground Equality Act 2010,
      Access features of Trains Light rail vehicles, underground and stations, Rail Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2008-2010 (RVAR).

    2. underground

      Booking and travel on buses, trains, underground Equality Act 2010,
      Access features of Trains Light rail vehicles, underground and stations, Rail Vehicles Accessibility Regulations 2008-2010 (RVAR).

    3. buses

      Access features of Bus and coach, Public Service Vehicles Accessibility Regulation 2000 England, Scotland and Wales and 2003 Northern Ireland (PSVAR).

    4. taxis

      Access to Taxis, Equality Act 2010.

    5. planes

      Access to Aircraft and airports, EC1107/2006, July 2008.

    6. ships

    Access to Ships and Hovercraft, EU1177/2010, December 2012.

  3. What are the regulations for the import and export of dogs into/from your country, including quarantine and vaccination procedures?

    This is covered by The EU regulation for pets, 998/2003 and its implementation in England is the Non Commercial Movement of Pet Animals (England) Regulations 2004. This is due to be replaced by a GB or UK wide regulation at the start of 2012, to bring the UK in line with regulation across Europe.

    The NCMPAR allow an exemption for pets which are compliant to avoid the controls for quarantine. So the quarantine for non compliant pets is covered by the Rabies (Importation of Dogs, Cats and Other Mammals) Order 1974 which is GB wide. It also will be amended with implementation on 1st Jan 2012.

    Requirements before 31st December 2011

    Dogs in the UK, EU or one of the other qualifying (listed) countries can re-enter or enter the UK without quarantine provided they meet the rules of the Pets Travel Scheme.

    • be identified by a microchip
    • be vaccinated against rabies
    • after vaccination the dog must be blood tested to make sure the vaccine has given it a satisfactory level of protection against rabies
    • the dog may not enter the UK until six calendar months have passed from the date that the vet took the blood sample which led to a satisfactory test result.
    • be accompanied by a certificate issued by an official veterinarian certifying compliance with the above requirements
    • Before the dog re enters the UK, it must be treated against ticks and  tapeworm – Treatment must be administered by a vet not less than 24 hours and not more than 48 hours before it is checked in with an approved transport company for its journey into the UK.
    • for animals being prepared in an EU country, have an EU pet passport

    Requirements after 1st January 2012

    • be identified by a microchip
    • be vaccinated against rabies, there is then a waiting time of 21 days from the date of the vaccine before the dog can enter the UK, if the vaccination is in two parts the 21 day wait will be from the date of the second vaccination Rabies boosters must be kept up to date
    • for animals being prepared in an EU country, have an EU pet passport
    • there is an expectation that the European Commission will shortly come forward with proposals to allow UK to still require pets to be treated against tapeworms.  There will be no mandatory requirement for tick treatment

    Animals which do not meet all the rules when they arrive in the UK must be licensed into quarantine. They may be able to be released early (before the full six month quarantine period has finished) if they can be shown to comply with the necessary PETS rules whilst in quarantine
     

    1. Are exceptions made for guide dogs?

      No

    2. Are the regulations such as to restrict spontaneous voyages?

      The Initial 6 month period to qualify for the PETS Passport would restrict spontaneous travel. This is a current requirement and will change from 1 January 2012.

    3. How much time is needed to fulfil the requirements?

       

      1.  For the first time

        6 months

      2. For subsequent visits with the same dog

        24 hours.

  4. Is there a certification process for the training and provision of guide dogs? If yes, please provide basic details, in particular on the difference between mandatory and optional certifications.

     

    UK guide dog owners  qualify with their dogs, having reached an agreed standard of performance as a working unit and agreed set of goals in relation to work undertaken.

    The qualification is a written agreement between guide dog owner and The Guide dogs for the Blind Association and asks the guide dog owner to agree and abide by a set of written conditions in relation to their work and maintenance of their dog.

    The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association is also governed in its standards by the International Guide Dog Federation, who look at standards to which Guide Dogs has to train dogs and their owners.

  5. Is there an allowance or other financial aid to help guide dog users with the upkeep of their animals (food, veterinary, etc.)?

     

    Guide dog owners in the UK are provided with a food allowance and cover for vet nary costs (although they can elect to cover these costs themselves), and are covered by liability insurance paid by the association on their behalf subject to the guide dog owners conduct in relation to the agreement signed on qualification with their dog.

    For further information please contact

    John Welsman, Transport Policy Officer, Guide Dogs

    Email john.welsman@guidedogs.org.uk.

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