Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles

The Equality Act 2010

Section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 imposes duties upon the drivers of designated vehicles when dealing with disabled passengers travelling in wheelchairs or a person who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person in a wheelchair. Those duties are set out in Section 165(4) as follows:

  • to carry to passenger whilst in the wheelchair;
  • not to make any additional charge for doing so;
  • if the person chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair;
  • to take such steps as are reasonably necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort; and
  • to give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.

Section 165(7) of the Act creates an offence where the driver of a designated taxi or private hire vehicle fails to comply with a duty imposed upon them under the section. This is punishable on summary conviction by a fine not exceeding scale 3 on the standard scale (currently £1,000)

Section 166 of the Act makes provision for licensing authorities to issue exemptions to drivers where they are satisfied it is appropriate to do so:

  • On medical grounds; or
  • On the ground that the person’s physical conditions makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for the person to comply with those duties.

A driver will only be exempt therefore if an exemption certificate has been issued and notice of exemption issued by the Council is exhibited on the vehicle in the prescribed manner. There are currently no drivers with exemptions.

Vehicles shown on this list are known to be capable of carrying a wheelchair of maximum size 120x70cm and max combined weight (passenger and chair) of 300kg. Some may be capable of carrying larger or heavier wheelchairs. However, this will be at the discretion of the driver.

If you feel that a driver has acted unlawfully by refusing to carry you please contact licensing@watford.gov.uk or telephone 01923 278476, with the following details:

  • vehicle make
  • plate number (found on the rear of the vehicle)
  • if possible, the driver’s badge number. Drivers must wear their badges whilst at work.

Please note that the listed vehicles are those which can carry a person who remains seated in their wheelchair.

All vehicles licensed by Watford Borough Council but not listed may be capable of carrying a passenger who can transfer from their wheelchair depending on the passenger’s preference. All vehicles have sufficient boot space to accommodate a folded wheelchair. Drivers of these other licensed vehicles are not subject to section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 but if you are refused by a driver of any licensed vehicle in Watford you can report this to the licensing department by providing the information above.

For further information on passenger rights when travelling, please download our booklet on passenger rights.

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