City Desk

D.C. Cab Drivers Aren’t Fond of Blind People with Guide Dogs, Study Shows

In the ERC study, cabbies passed blind customers for sighted passengers 50 percent of the time.

In the ERC study, cabbies passed blind customers for sighted passengers 50 percent of the time.

Seeing person or blind person with a guide dog? A recent civil rights watchdog group study showed that D.C. cabbies will pass by the blind person and their dog in favor of a sighted person down the road 50 percent of the time. Busted!

The Equal Rights Center study was based on 30 tests in the District. A blind person with a service dog was placed up the street so they would be seen by the cab driver first. A person who wasn't blind and didn't have a service dog stood on the same side of the street after the blind person. In 15 of the 30 tests, the cab driver drove past the blind person and picked up the sighted person without the dog. In three of the tests, the cab driver attempted to add a surcharge to the blind person's fare for transporting the dog. Under ADA and D.C. law, charging people with disabilities or service animals extra is illegal.

The ERC has video of some of the tests to show what happened:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin
  • Gene


  • Another David

    While I wouldn't doubt for a second that taxi drivers discriminate against people with disabilities, I have to point out that the validity of this study is shaky at best. For God's sake, they didn't even have a control group! They paired a blind guy with a regular guy, but never paired two regular guys. For all we know, the blind guys just had some bad luck, or the taxi drivers prefer to pick people up who are farther down the street (for example, if there's another taxi immediately behind them, the second taxi won't have to go around).

    And don't get me started on 30 trials...

  • downtown rez

    This would never happen were seeing eye ponies more common.
    But seriously, I hope the those who conducted the studyturned in the tag numbers of those cabs.

  • Pingback:

  • Tim

    Here's what I'm wondering: assuming the study used a real blind person, how did said blind person actually know that the taxi passed him/her up?

  • fufa

    I am tired all insensitive and irresponsible “researches” conducted in this capitalistic society where quantity and speed override quality. This is one of those irresponsible and half studies which do not consider the deepest root cause of the problem. It also does not include all the facts pertaining to the situation either. In its worst, it does not provide real solution except burning public anger.
    Dogs leave hairs, dust and foot prints on the seat. This will offend not only the cab driver but also the next customer. In order to clean and make the seat ready for the next customer, a responsible cab driver has to suspend his duty, find a parking meter in the busiest streets of DC and take time to clean his vehicle. Does a man with normal intellect imagine all these should be for no extra cost or compensation? I believe a responsible and sensitive researcher; government official and general public should think how to compensate all this loses before barking on poor drivers and boiling unnecessary public anger.