by Tony Stephens
The American Council of the Blind, in partnership with Guide Dog Users, Inc. (GDUI) and the Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools (CUSDGS), conducted a national survey to better understand the denial of taxi and hired vehicle passengers who travel with dog guides. The findings reaffirm the need for action and outreach to national and local transportation governing bodies, as well as to community and civic leaders.
Data at a Glance
· Total respondents = 620
· 90% of respondents use a taxi or hired vehicle at least once a month.
· 47% use a taxi or hired vehicle 3 or more times a month.
· 68% have been denied access with a guide dog at least once, with 17% reporting denial 50% or higher.
· Of those denied access, 82% occurs at time of pick-up.
· Key reasons given of incidence include allergies/fear of dogs (60%), religious/cultural beliefs (43%), lack of knowledge on access law (39%).
· 45% of respondents who were denied access have never filed a complaint.
· Belief that discrimination for dog guide users is pervasive was confirmed.
· While not isolated to one singular region in the country, prevalence was significantly higher in urban areas.
· While outreach to the transportation industry is still needed on rights of dog guide users, additional remedies such as cultural sensitivity training and myth-busting rise as key pathways for maximizing elimination of discrimination.
· Additional outreach to passengers informing them of their rights and means to make complaints is necessary.
· Collaboration is needed, both among advocacy consumer groups and dog guide training institutions and their graduates, in order to develop a successful campaign strategy to end discrimination.
· Federal, state and local governments should be made aware of the systemic and social barriers obstructing equal access and be moved to action.
· Community outreach is greatly needed, targeting key messengers and influencers capable of working to overcome social barriers.
· Passengers should be empowered to speak up and methods to lodge complaints should be more easily accessed.
ACB will be working with its committees and affiliates in order to strategize next steps for such action. If you have questions pertaining to this study, contact Anthony Stephens, ACB Director of Advocacy & Governmental Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 467-5081.