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High Street Cafe's Promise to improve Disabled Access Following an Undercover Investigation

taxi driver excuse for not taking a guide dog
taxi driver excuse for not taking a guide dog Image credit: http://www.bbc.co.uk/

Employees may have noticed the blind man’s guide dog and the wheelchair being used by the disabled person but the secret cameras remained hidden; which explains why they were refused access to taxis and left stranded at train stations.

Last year the BBC sent disabled people undercover to record the barriers they come up against on a day to day basis. Five out of 20 taxi drivers refused to take a guide dog on board, on four occasion’s wheelchair passengers never met the train staff who were booked to meet them at the station and branches of Costa Coffee, Eat, Chipotle, Caffé Nero, Caffé Concerto and the Post Office failed to provide adequate service for disabled visitors.

One of the aforementioned outlets, Eat acknowledged their problem and issued the following statement: "We were mortified. Therefore when we saw that footage we took it very seriously and undertook to investigate.

"We've asked all our shop teams to check the equipment is there and we have put in place replacement equipment if it was required."

Southeastern Rail said they have notified station managers about the concern raised following the investigation.

Costa Coffee assured the BBC access has been improved at their branches across the country and new ramps have replaced those which were broken.

Caffé Nero issued an apology to the BBC after they initially made an insensitive reply last year.

Mark Harper MP, Minister for Disabled People expressed his disappointed after Chipotle failed to reply to the letters he sent to the restaurant chains. He said: "I am very disappointed Chipotle didn't even have the courtesy to reply. It does make you wonder [about their] compliance with the law and customer service."

Harper may have shown concern over the results but the blind man who took part in the research, Reshi Ramlakhan was unhappy with the government’s response. He said: "I think ministers should be making simple, clear, concise, easy to understand legislation which makes this kind of offence a criminal offence, not a civil offence.

"I have to take it upon myself to take that person [denying me a service] to court."

"I walked down the road the other day and saw a sign that said if your dog fouls the pavement you'll be given a fine.

"Straight away, that's an immediate penalty - whereas if somebody commits an act of discrimination against me, I have to go through this long-winded process to get justice.

"It made me think that people with disabilities are worth less than dogs' mess on the street."