Cassandra Chiu and her guide dog Esme faced yet another episode where service was refused due to the assumption that the trained dog was a pet. This time, the visually impaired Chiu experienced a mild injury when a taxi driver refused to let her board the cab and sped off, knocking her down on the ground.
The incident transpired at Tanglin Shopping Centre’s taxi stand earlier on Monday, according the recounting of events from Esme’s point of view in a Facebook post. Chiu, a professional counsellor, was denied entry into a ComfortDelgro cab by the driver, even when she offered to show her Guide Dog Team Identification Card.
The driver had opened his car door and tried to drive off, causing Chiu to fall down and injure her knees, which had started to bleed. Another cab driver came to help and eventually got her into a taxi. Noting that there was “blood flowing in rivulets” down her legs, she went over to Singapore General Hospital for treatment, and later on a veterinarian checked up on Esme. No injuries were found on her guide dog.
According to a spokesperson for TransCab, they do not have a policy barring drivers from rejecting passengers with guide dogs and no complaints have been received so far, TODAY reports.
Land Transport Authority regulations also emphasise that taxi drivers are not allowed to reject passengers with caged or muzzled pets, except for health of religious reasons. The taxi driver in question has not been identified.
A few months ago, Chiu faced a similar incident — she broke her ribs when a taxi tried to drive off after refusing entry. In March, she was denied service at a crowded McDonalds restaurant and a staff even mistakenly yelled at her for bringing a ‘pet’ into the premises.