Cab driver loses licence after blind man’s guide dog refused
by William Mata | 29th October 2018
A TAXI driver has lost his licence after an altercation with a blind man outside Tunbridge Wells railway station.
Alun Elder-Brown, who has almost no sight, filmed his disagreement with a cab driver over whether his guide dog could travel in the front seat.
In the video, which has been seen by more than 5,000 on Facebook, the driver can be heard saying: “No, you cannot do that, of course not, what are you doing?”
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s licensing department were sent the video and made the decision to revoke the licence of the driver, who has not been named.
Mr Elder-Brown said he was ‘tired’ when he hailed the cab around 4.30pm on Tuesday of last week and asked for a ride to the Ramslye area of Tunbridge Wells, where he lives.
“I was feeling humiliated and deserted,” he said, “I am fed up with being treated like this. There are other guide dog owners who take this on the chin, but I have been taking it on the chin for too long.”
Mr Elder-Brown, a political campaigner, suffered a brain haemorrhage 14 years ago and had a reoccurrence in June of this year, which led to him spending some time in hospital.
He said the dispute occurred when the taxi driver asked him to put his Labrador-type dog in the car’s boot – which Mr Elder-Brown said he should not have to do.
“I am always prepared to record incidents for my own safety,” he said, adding that he was considering upgrading to a GoPro camera to attach to his clothing.
“I have experienced abuse before. I am distressed and irate about the situation.
“The council dealt with it well. But it did not occur to me to report the incident to the police.”
Mr Elder-Brown said it is usual practice for a blind passenger and guide dog to sit in the front of a taxi and that drivers are aware of this.
Another taxi driver then took him home.
The driver who had his licence revoked has the right to appeal to the magistrates within 21 days.