Safe Transport Victoria’s newest industry program urges taxi and rideshare drivers to Drive with Heart and improve the experience for passengers travelling with assistance animals.

The program reminds CPV drivers that passengers have the right to ride with their assistance animals.

Assistance animals are working dogs that undergo rigorous safety and relationship training, meaning they will not bite, lick or jump on people or other animals.

Assistance animals, including guide dogs, are allowed in all taxis and rideshare vehicles and it is an offence to refuse service for to a passenger with their assistance animal.

Messaging around the importance of taking assistance animals is being sent to drivers through social media, electronic newsletters, and online videos such as this one:

The program is supported by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and Vision Australia. It’s developed to make drivers feel comfortable around assistance animals and reinforce education about their obligations.

Passengers who are refused service because of their assistance animal should lodge a complaint with the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) and with the relevant Booking Service Provider.

Visit the Drive with Heart website to learn more.

 

What drivers can do for passengers with assistance animals: 

  • Ask the passenger if they need assistance before helping them and walk slowly to guide them to the vehicle door.
  • The dog should never misbehave, but if a disruption is caused please discuss the issue with the owner.
  • Worried about dog hair? You can keep a towel or sheet to cover the seat in your boot.
  • The passenger should determine where the dog sits, but it is most common for the animal to sit in the footwell. Offer to slide the front passenger seat forward to make extra room.
  • Make sure to speak to your passenger, not the dog.

 

Been refused a ride? Here’s how to make a complaint.

If you’re a passenger with an assistance animal and have been unfairly treated or refused service when using a taxi or rideshare, you can:

  1. File your complaint to the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) by visiting their  website at: www.humanrights.vic.gov.au or calling them on 1300 292 153.
  2. In addition to the VEOHRC complaint, report the incident to the Booking Service Provider you booked the ride with.