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Taxi driver fined after refusing to take blind woman with guide dog

A taxi driver from Windsor put a blind woman with a guide dog in a ‘distressing situation’ by refusing to take her fare in Slough.

On June 2 last year, Irfan Safi, 42, of Park Corner, Windsor refused to carry out a booking for a blind woman in Slough.

Slough Borough Council’s licensing team received a report on the refusal and interviewed the driver on August 22.

Safi, who has been a licensed private hire driver in Slough since 2011, denied during the interview that he refused the job because there was a dog.

He pleaded guilty to being the driver of a private hire vehicle and failing or refusing to carry out a booking for a disabled person accompanied by an assistance dog at Reading Magistrates’ Court on January 25.

Safi, who remains a licensed driver, apologised to the court for ‘making a terrible mistake’ and was fined £133 and told to pay £980 in costs.

Slough Borough Council cabinet member for regulation and consumer protection Councillor Pavitar Mann (Lab, Britwell and Northborough) said: “We won’t tolerate any kind of discrimination.

“Though Mr Safi had an unblemished record before this incident, his lack of judgement on that day led to a distressing situation for the blind passenger, who relies on a white cane and her guide dog to give her independence.

“The driver now has a criminal record and the situation could have been entirely avoided. “It’s a timely reminder to other drivers to obey the law and to treat all passengers with equal respect.”

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