News reports of booked hire service drivers refusing customers in wheelchairs is serious cause for concern and emphasises the importance of wheelchair accessible taxis, according to the Taxi Council of Queensland (TCQ).
Recently, a woman in Victoria was denied transport by an Uber driver who said that he couldn’t take her as her folding wheelchair wouldn't fit inside his car.
This is despite Uber’s own policy that directs drivers to accommodate customers using walkers, folding wheelchairs or other assistive devices to the maximum extent possible.
This type of driver behaviour is simply not good enough says TCQ chief executive officer Blair Davies.
“The conduct exhibited here by the Uber driver was not just terrible customer service, it was a blatant case of discrimination,” Mr Davies said.
“Equally of concern, what’s missing in the reports is any sense that Uber understands its responsibilities in relation to this type of misbehaviour by its drivers.
“Under Australian law, Uber is vicariously liable for discrimination by its drivers. That means it really has to do more than just have a nice policy on a shelf somewhere that its drivers can ignore when they don’t feel like complying with it.
“This latest incident reminds us again how important driver training and a reasonable proportion of wheelchair accessible vehicles are for providing transport services that don’t discriminate against people with disability. One in every five Queensland taxis is a fully accessible vehicle.”
He said TCQ is committed to ensuring the Queensland taxi industry delivers dependable and safe transport for everyone in the community, including passengers travelling with their wheelchairs and other mobility aids.