Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Thursday, 3 July 2008 12:17 UK

Taxi firms warned over guide dogs

Guide dog on outdoor obstacle course
Refusing to take guide dogs will lead to a fine, Bedford Borough Council said.

Taxi firms have been warned they face fines if they refuse to allow guide dogs into their cabs, a council said.

Bedford Borough Council said it prosecuted private hire firm Crown Cars (Bedford) Limited after it refused to take a blind man with a guide dog.

The firm pleaded guilty to the offence at Bedford Magistrates' Court under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and received a 250 fine and 250 costs.

Licensing officers will seek to fine firms who refuse to take guide dogs.

Keith Simmons, from the council, said: "Licensing officers were very concerned that any of its licensed drivers could refuse to accept a hiring from a visually-impaired person simply because they were accompanied by a guide dog.

"This is unacceptable and I hope that this prosecution will send out this message to all licensed drivers."

Crown Cars (Bedford) Limited was also ordered to pay a 15 victim surcharge.

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