News from the European Guide Dog Federation on assistance dogs in taxis.

As you can see from the article reproduced below, when Uber taxis consistently refuse guide dogs in America they had to pay a $225,000 fine. This will certainly have made them sit up and take notice.

In Europe, taxi drivers consistently refuse to take people with guide dogs and assistance dogs. Apart from Transport for London, who are now consistently fining taxi drivers who refuse assistance dogs, there is very little enforcement across Europe and many parts of the UK. 

We really need to consistently raise this issue so that governments and local authorities step up to the mark. 

"NEW YORK CITY — On Sept. 11, 2001, Michael Hingson's guide dog led him safely from his office on the 78th floor of tower 1 of the World Trade Center to the street below.

But years later, when his four-legged companion led him to an Uber, the driver told him to get lost.

Yesterday, Uber agreed to a settlement with Hingson, who has been blind since childhood, two other blind riders and the National Federation of the Blind. The plaintiffs sued the company after drivers refused to transport them with their service animals.

"It's not the dog that is denied, because dogs don't have rights," Hingson told DNAinfo. "You're denying me and that is against the law." Hingson, who moved to California in 2002 to work as a spokesman for Guide Dogs for the Blind, said he does not have an Uber account himself but was denied on multiple occasions when trying to ride in an Uber with friends who use the app. 

While Hingson said he had not used the service in New York, he said blind New Yorkers told him similar stories of drivers who refused to take them with their service animals.

"It's happened in a variety of places, so it a systemic issue, it's not local," Hingson said. "This has happened all over the country."

In its settlement, announced Friday, Uber agreed to implement a number of changes to its policies, including agreeing to educate current and new drivers that they have a legal obligation to provide rides to passengers with service animals — with no exceptions. All drivers will also be issued a quarterly email reminder that they have to comply with the service animal policy, and drivers who do not comply with the policy will be fired, the company said.

Uber also agreed to pay $225,000 to the National Federation for the Blind to pay for monitors to randomly test its drivers and ensure they comply with non-discrimination rules.

"We're very pleased that Uber is going to take concrete steps so that the rights of blind people who have dogs are protected and that drivers transport those passengers," Chris Danielson, Director of Public Relations for the National Federation of the Blind (NFB), told DNAinfo.

To ensure that Uber drivers comply with the new policies, the rideshare company will make three payments of $75,000 over a three-and-a-half year period to the National Federation of the Blind to pay monitors around the country who will randomly check if Uber drivers comply with the policy.

Hingson said he was very pleased that he and his current service dog, Africa, will be able to ride in an Uber with the new guidelines.

"For me and other blind people it means Uber has taken enough of a commitment that their drivers know that if they refuse to take me because I have a guide dog, they won't be Uber drivers anymore," Hingson said. "It's really a major step."

Uber did not immediately respond to a request for comment."