Shocker: DC Taxis Don’t Like to Pick Up Blind People With Guide Dogs

According to the Washington Post:

The Equal Rights Center, in a report released Wednesday morning, said that it conducted 30 tests this year and that in half of them, drivers passed someone with a guide dog to pick up a person who did not have a guide dog. In three of the cases in which the taxi stopped for the blind person, the driver attempted to impose a surcharge for transporting the dog, the Equal Rights Center said.

Under local and federal law, businesses, including taxis, must make reasonable accommodations to blind people and their service dogs and may not impose surcharges for transporting a service dog. But blind people in the District have complained for years that some taxi drivers flout the law.

But, of course, these taxi drivers don’t just not like blind people with their guide dogs:

Taxi drivers in the District and elsewhere have long faced scrutiny for passing up black people trying to hail cabs, and several years ago, the D.C. police conducted sting operations intended to deter discrimination by taxi drivers.

And one of the saddest parts of this entire thing is that the system in place for reporting problems with a taxi driver is to write down the taxi number and then call the taxi operator.  Blind people can’t participate in such a system:

Dena C. Reed, the taxi commission’s general counsel, said that the actions described in the report are discriminatory and that the commission also has received complaints about blind passengers being passed by taxi drivers.

“But it probably happens more than it gets reported,” Reed said.

The city, she said, can do more. “There is absolutely room to step up enforcement and education,” Reed said.

Blind people, she said, aren’t in a position to take down a tag number, which is how many complaints end up at the commission. But Reed also said that with only 14 or 15 hack inspectors, the commission’s enforcement reach is limited. “We’re a small agency,” she said. “Something like a wholesale sting operation, I don’t know if that one’s on the table. I don’t know if we even have the resources for that.”

Here is the video that Equal Rights Center made about this issue that includes actual video of the discrimination (they positioned a blind person with their guide dog 100 feet in front of a person without a guide dog):

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