8. I am a physically disabled person and I always have difficulty in taking a taxi. Should the taxi driver help me on every occasion? What if the driver refuses to offer taxi services to me?
According to section 26 of the DDO, it is unlawful to discriminate against or harass persons with a disability during the provision of services, and this includes taxi services. Taxi drivers may be violating the DDO if they refuse to offer taxi services to disabled persons.
The Equal Opportunities Commission has published a document entitled "Guidelines for Taxi Services" and some of the important points contained are highlighted below:
- If a mobility-impaired passenger has difficulty in boarding and alighting from the taxi independently, the driver should offer assistance to the passenger, and if necessary, help the passenger place properly in the taxi any wheelchair or other auxiliary aid(s). A driver who has difficulty in providing such assistance to a passenger should clearly explain his/her difficulty to the passenger.
- To facilitate the boarding and alighting of taxis by persons with a disability in restricted zones, the Transport Department and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service have prepared a "Certificate for Picking Up or Setting Down of Passengers with Disabilities in Restricted Zones" for use by persons with a disability. Applicants can contact the Hong Kong Council of Social Service at 2864 2929 or visit the Transport Department's webpage to get more information. Persons with a disability should take this certificate with them at all times for presentation to taxi drivers upon request if they wish to board or alight taxis in restricted zones. However, they should not board/alight taxis on expressways or in 24-hour restricted zones.
- Drivers should take care that their conduct (verbal or otherwise) does not offend, upset or humiliate a passenger on the grounds of that passenger's disability or on the grounds of the disability of a person accompanying that passenger.