Marjolein van den Broek’s assistance dog was refused by a regional taxi driver in Arnhem last week. The dog would be too big to sit in the front and the driver would not allow the dog on the back seat, because that would be “dirty”. Various organizations, which means that Avan, who is responsible for the regional taxi in the Arnhem Nijmegen region, is disappointed by the incident. “This lady should never have been refused.”

“Tonight (last week Wednesday) my guide dog Igor was refused by the regional taxi,” writes Marjolein van den Broek on her Facebook page. “It was neatly stated in the system that Igor would come along. The driver thought Igor was too big to sit in the front with me. I proposed, as so often, to sit in the back seat with Igor.”

According to Van den Broek, however, the taxi driver in question didn’t think that was a good idea. “The driver found a dog in the back seat dirty. So that wasn’t going to happen. She thought I should take a taxi van with my assistance dog. Not that they were available at the time. At times like this I feel even more limited and that hurts a lot. Igor is my eyes and so much more. He should not be refused”, Marjolein concludes her emotional speech.

Madness Marcel Kolder, owner of communications agency Draoidh and former candidate councilor of GroenLinks in Almere, is aware of this matter and has no good word for this event. “It is madness to refuse someone with an assistance dog,” he told TaxiPro. “That is no longer possible at this time. Every person has the right to transport. I hope that such situations do not occur more often.”

KNGF Guide Dogs also regrets the situation that has arisen. According to the organization, Van den Broek’s assistance dog should never have been refused by the taxi driver in question. “According to the UN treaty, refusing someone with an assistance dog is indirect discrimination,” says spokesperson Eveline Mulder in a general sense. “You are actually refusing someone with a disability. The assistance dog is in fact a tool for that person.”

Hand in hand Also Math van den Beucken, director of Avan (the organization responsible for the regional taxi in the Arnhem-Nijmegen region) is fed up with this incident and puts his hand in his own bosom. “This lady should never have been refused”, he begins his story. “That’s just cut and ready. We do not refuse assistance dogs, that is also stated in our rules. The driver in question has now been approached about this. We have not experienced any such issues. As far as we are concerned, this is a one-off incident and that is the end of the matter.”

According to Van den Beucken, a conversation also took place between Marjolein van den Broek and the carrier that this driver falls under . “Being Avan, we don’t have drivers, but only the carriers are under contract. The carrier of this driver contacted this lady almost immediately after this incident. From what I understand, there have been extensive discussions with each other. As far as I know, it has been agreed that this driver will no longer pick up this traveler for the time being. I think that has taken the sting out.”

Making a step According to Marcel Kolder, issues like this have been around for some time and throughout society. “We really need to take a step together. People just really want to participate independently. They want to work, do things. The problem, however, is that society takes little account of this. People don’t know what it means to live with a disability. We really have to do something about that here in the Netherlands.”

What can taxi companies do to prevent such situations in the future? “Properly informing staff”, says Mulder. “Information also plays an important role. Perhaps fear plays an important factor in some cases. It is often fear rather than unwillingness. That fear needs to be taken away. If taxi companies talk about this with their staff, they may in many cases be able to dispel that fear themselves.”

have to explain to their staff”, says Kolder. “An internal communication campaign could help with this. In addition, you really have to include it in the internal regulations. We also need to keep it positive. In eighty percent of the cases, things just go well”, concludes Kolder.

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