On Monday, January 18, Nadia Mattiazzo, a Blind Citizens Australia (BCA) member who is totally blind and uses a dog guide, was refused service by a taxi driver because of her dog. “This is the sixth or seventh time I’ve been refused service in the last year. I’ve lodged complaints every time it’s happened and there has been very little action taken at any time”, Nadia said today in an interview with 3AW.
Alarmingly, Nadia was holding the door handle of the taxi when it pulled away in this latest instance, raising serious safety concerns.
“We at BCA share Nadia’s frustration,” said BCA CEO Leah van Poppel. “Although we know the issues for taxi companies can be complicated – such as high staff turnover and cultural concerns – it’s unacceptable in this day and age that a person who is blind should have their safety compromised by ignorance.”
BCA regularly hears from members who have been illegally refused taxi travel in Victoria and across the country, and works actively to advocate for change with organisations like the Victorian Taxi Commission.
“Despite a great deal of publicity being given to instances of dog guide users being refused service by taxi drivers, the issue continues to occur across the country,” said Ms van Poppel. We’re calling on companies, drivers and regulators to step up. We know the answers aren’t easy, but clearly more needs to be done.”
Media contact: Leah van Poppel BCA CEO
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