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Guide Dogs Australia calls for discrimination to end ahead of International Guide Dog Day

Discrimination on the Rise: Half of Low Vision and Blind Community Report Taxi and Rideshare Refusals

This International Guide Dog Day (Wednesday 24 April), Guide Dogs Australia is launching its ‘Wherever you can go, Guide Dogs can go too’ campaign encouraging the community to better understand the legal access rights for Guide Dogs and celebrate their right to travel the world freely.

Taxi and rideshare refusals continues to be an unfortunate regular occurrence for those living with low vision and blindness as 46% experienced a refusal with a taxi or rideshare company in the past 24 months. Over one third (34%) stated that their taxi or rideshare was cancelled, while others were ridiculed or discriminated against (15%).

This is according to a recent Ernst & Young Sweeney report commissioned by Guide Dogs Australia which surveyed people with low vision or blindness to explore access issues including refusals.

The report found that Guide Dog Handlers are more likely to face access refusals or barriers in public – most commonly when booking rideshare or taxis – highlighting the discrimination against Guide Dogs.

This year the International Guide Dog Federation is also highlighting that access challenges for Guide Dog Handlers such as taxi and rideshare refusals are a global issue.

Sydney based student Zara Perry is aged 18 and was paired with her first Guide Dog Quinlan in mid-January has experienced multiple taxi refusals says, “as a Guide Dog and companion Quinlan has been incredible, the independence and confidence he has already provided me has been life changing. 

He has really enabled me to partake in day-to-day life and activities that everyone else can. That being said, since we got matched, I have faced countless access refusals with Quinlan despite his legal right to travel freely through the world.

I recently ordered an Uber and the driver who pulled up was really negative as soon as he saw Quinlan. I was instantly faced with a barrage of questions including 'you don’t look blind are you sure he is a real Guide Dog', when we were finally granted a lift the driver asked if I had a rug or blanket to put down for Quinlan. All of this to get a 15-minute lift to my parents’ house. 
This isn’t even the worst case most just drive past us and cancel. These constant incidents just make me feel very isolated and excluded.
When I am out in public with Quinlan I need to be constantly switched on and ready to explain his legal rights. I never know when we will get stopped, refused access or told I can’t do something. But the problem isn't Quinlan, he is doing a brilliant job and already breaks down so many barriers for me - the issue is the lack of awareness of his rights to travel everywhere I can go.”

In an effort to raise awareness about the access rights of Guide Dogs and to celebrate the indispensable role they play in guiding Handlers on their journeys, this International Guide Dog Day, Guide Dogs NSW/ACT will be hosting a Puppy Café.

Sydneysiders are to join them for puppy cuddles, pupper-cinos to celebrate all the amazing places Guide Dogs and their Handlers can go and to learn more about their vital legal access rights across Australia.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT CEO Dale Cleaver says, “Guide Dogs play an invaluable role in breaking barriers for people living with low vision or blindness, enabling them to navigate and explore the world freely and safely. However, this is being constantly obstructed by the increase in access refusals, largely experienced in rideshare. Our community is facing these challenges on a daily basis.

Through our ‘Wherever you can go, Guide Dogs can go too’ campaign, we want to highlight the laws in place to ensure fairness, safety, empowerment and agency for our community. 

We really encourage everyone to learn more about these rights and advocate for a more welcoming world for those living with low vision or blindness, not only today in celebration of International Guide Dog Day, but every day.


The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 is the law to provide fair access for those with a disability across Australia:

Guide Dogs Australia statement:

Guide Dogs working with their Handlers have a right to legal access to any event, business, or public premises, and in Public Transport or rideshare vehicles at all times.

A person with low vision or blindness who is accompanied by a Guide Dog is permitted to:

✔️ Travel on any form of public transport, including taxis, buses, planes, rideshare vehicles, trams and trains

✔️ Enter any public place

✔️ Enter healthcare or medical suites

✔️ Visit any theatre

✔️ Eat in any restaurant

✔️ Shop in any store (including supermarkets and food stores)

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