A private hire driver licensed by City of Wolverhampton Council has had his licence revoked after refusing to carry an assistance dog for a blind passenger.

When issuing licences, the council makes it very clear that it is a legal obligation to carry assistance animals - and officers will be using the case to continue educating other drivers.

Ramesh Mahesan had his appeal against an original decision to revoke his licence dismissed after he failed to attend a hearing at Dudley Magistrates Court. He was also ordered to pay costs of more than £900.

The council investigated after a complaint was made by the victim stating that Mahesan arrived at the requested location, spotted the assistance dog and immediately left. 

After leaving, the driver cancelled the trip. The booking was assigned to a new driver and the victim was able to travel home safely.

This was confirmed by the passenger’s personal assistant who was travelling with them and the assistance dog.

Mahesan’s legal representative denied the complaint and stated that the driver had “looked after dogs before” and “is very aware of the importance of taking guide dogs”.

The incident happened in Coventry in June last year and Mahesan’s licence was revoked by Dudley magistrates in April 2023.

In 2021, the council took similar action against a Wolverhampton driver who refused to carry a customer with an assistance dog from Molineux Stadium. Officers will be using both the examples when educating other drivers.

Councillor Craig Collingswood, cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said “Leaving a vulnerable passenger on the side of the road is inexcusable. 

“When licensing drivers, it is made very clear from the outset that it is a legal obligation to carry assistance animals at no extra cost.

“As a council, we strive to ensure the best possible service for anybody who uses one of our licensed vehicles and this scenario was deeply upsetting to us.

“Due to the serious nature of the complaint, we no longer consider Mr Mahesan to be a fit and proper person to hold a licence to drive a private hire vehicle.

“Every passenger should feel safe and respected when using taxis or private hire vehicles and we believe that Mr Mahesan did not display the high standard of service that is expected from our drivers.”