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England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions
You are here: BAILII >> Databases >> England and Wales High Court (Administrative Court) Decisions >> McNutt v Transport for London  EWHC 365 (Admin) (21 February 2019)
Cite as:  WLR(D) 113,  EWHC 365 (Admin),  1 WLR 5617,  WLR 5617
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QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Strand, London, WC2A 2LL
B e f o r e :
| Thomas McNutt
|- and -
|Transport for London
David Patience (instructed by Transport for London) for the Respondent
Hearing dates: 13 February 2019
Crown Copyright ©
The Honourable Mr Justice Julian Knowles:
"(1) This section imposes duties on the driver of a designated taxi which has been hired—
(a) by or for a disabled person who is in a wheelchair, or
(b) by another person who wishes to be accompanied by a disabled person who is in a wheelchair.
(2) This section also imposes duties on the driver of a designated private hire vehicle, if a person within paragraph (a) or (b) of subsection (1) has indicated to the driver that the person wishes to travel in the vehicle.
(3) For the purposes of this section—
(a) a taxi or private hire vehicle is 'designated' if it appears on a list maintained under section 167;
(b) 'the passenger' means the disabled person concerned.
(4) The duties are -
(a) to carry the passenger while in the wheelchair;
(b) not to make any additional charge for doing so;
(c) if the passenger chooses to sit in a passenger seat, to carry the wheelchair;
(d) to take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the passenger is carried in safety and reasonable comfort;
(e) to give the passenger such mobility assistance as is reasonably required.
(5) Mobility assistance is assistance—
(a) to enable the passenger to get into or out of the vehicle;
(b) if the passenger wishes to remain in the wheelchair, to enable the passenger to get into and out of the vehicle while in the wheelchair;
(c) to load the passenger's luggage into or out of the vehicle;
(d) if the passenger does not wish to remain in the wheelchair, to load the wheelchair into or out of the vehicle.
(7) A driver of a designated taxi or designated private hire vehicle commits an offence by failing to comply with a duty imposed on the driver by this section.
(8) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (7) is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale."
The factual background
"Mr McNutt please stand. You are charged under the Equality Act 2010. s.165 of which states that a designated taxi driver should not make an additional charge for carrying a disabled person. By putting on your meter as you got out of your cab to unlock the ramp, it is apparent that it was your intention for the meter to keep running during the process of loading the wheelchair. This would lead to an additional charge to that which passenger without a disability would pay. It was your responsibility to keep up to date with changes in legislation and not being aware of changes to the law is not a defence. We therefore find you guilty beyond reasonable doubt."
(1) Did the Appellant make an additional charge for carrying a wheelchair user, Emma Vogelman, on 4 October 2017 ?
(2) Did the magistrates err in law by convicting the Defendant of making an additional charge for carrying a wheelchair user, contrary to s 165(7) Equality Act 2010 ?
The parties' submissions
"It is important to consider the position of disabled and wheelchair bound passengers. The 'journey' does not commence until the passenger is securely seated, or the wheelchair has been correctly loaded and secured, the ramps have been properly stowed and the journey commences. If the meter commenced before the loading commences, and continues until the loading has finished, there is direct discrimination because the disabled passenger is being treated less favourably than an able-bodied passenger, contrary to s 13 of the Equality Act 2010."
a. when an indication is given by the driver at the point of hiring to a disabled person that they will be made liable to an additional charge;
b. where the taximeter is switched on before the disabled person and their wheelchair have been loaded, thereby creating a pecuniary obligation on the disabled passenger to pay the metered fare, the boarding process taking more time than it would for a non-disabled person, thereby resulting in an additional charge.
"… words, and particularly general words, cannot be read in isolation: their colour and content are derived from their context. So it is that I conceive it to be my right and duty to examine every word of a statute in its context, and I use 'context' in its widest sense, which I have already indicated as including not only other enacting provisions of the same statute, but its preamble, the existing state of the law, other statutes in pari materia, and the mischief which I can, by those and other legitimate means, discern the statute was intended to remedy."
"Statutory interpretation is an exercise which requires the court to identify the meaning borne by the words in question in the particular context. The task of the court is often said to be to ascertain the intention of Parliament expressed in the language under consideration. This is correct and may be helpful, so long as it is remembered that the "intention of Parliament" is an objective concept, not subjective. The phrase is a shorthand reference to the intention which the court reasonably imputes to Parliament in respect of the language used. It is not the subjective intention of the minister or other persons who promoted the legislation. Nor is it the subjective intention of the draftsman, or of individual members or even of a majority of individual members of either House. These individuals will often have widely varying intentions. Their understanding of the legislation and the words used may be impressively complete or woefully inadequate. Thus, when courts say that such-and-such a meaning "cannot be what Parliament intended", they are saying only that the words under consideration cannot reasonably be taken as used by Parliament with that meaning."
"We often say that we are looking for the intention of Parliament, but that is not quite accurate. We are seeking the meaning of the words which Parliament used."
"In Amendment No. 96, it is one thing to provide for taxis to be designed or adapted to be able to carry a passenger in a wheelchair but we need also to ensure that the drivers of those vehicles are then required to convey those passengers. The new clause, Amendment No. 96, sets out the duties which will apply to drivers of regulated taxis when they are hired by a disabled person. These duties not only extend to the carriage of disabled persons, but also to the manner in which those persons should be carried. Any driver who fails to comply with these duties will be guilty of an offence."
"9 Regulations as to hackney and stage carriages.
Transport for London may from time to time by London cab order make regulations for all or any of the following purposes; that is to say,
(3) For fixing the rates or fares, as well for time as distance, to be paid for hackney
carriages, and for securing the due publication of such fares:
(4) For forming, in the case of hackney carriages, a table of distances, as evidence for the purposes of any fare to be charged by distance, by the preparation of a book, map, or plan, or any combination of a book, map, or plan:
Subject to the following restrictions:
(4) Any power of Transport for London to fix by regulations made by London Cab Order under this section any rates or fares to be paid for hackney carriages is exercisable subject to and in accordance with any directions given to Transport
for London by the Mayor of London as to the basis on which those rates or fares are to be calculated."
"1 Fares for taximeter cabs
(1) Transport for London shall have power by regulations made by London cab order under section nine of the Metropolitan Public Carriage Act, 1869, to fix the fares to be paid for the hire in London of cabs fitted with taximeters, either on the basis of time or distance or both, and so as to differ for different classes of cabs and under different circumstances."
a. All motor-cabs are required to be fitted with taximeters of a type approved by TfL ([35(1)] and set up in such a way that after the taximeter has been started the 'fare payable for the hiring, as prescribed by paragraph 40, is automatically recorded and displayed on the taximeter ([35(2)(a)]) and the total of 'any extra charges payable' is also displayed [35(2)(b)].
b. Such taximeters are required to sealed by persons authorised by TfL ([35(3)] and tampering with a seal is prohibited ().
c. Plying for hire without a taximeter fitted or one which is unsealed or in respect of which the seal has been tampered with is prohibited ().
d. The display on the taximeter must be illuminated so 'as to render the readings on the dial of the taximeter easily legible at all times of the day and night ().
e. The taxi driver must 'start the taximeter no sooner than when the cab is hired or at such later time as the driver thinks fit' ([39(1)]) and must 'stop the taximeter no later than when the hiring is terminated or at such earlier time as the driver thinks fit' ([39(2)].
f. Paragraph 40 sets out rules relating to the maximum 'payable ' fares for the hiring for a journey of a motor cab. In particular, it provides that the maximum fare payable for a journey of a motor cab shall be the aggregate of:(i) a hiring charge ([40(1)(a)]) (ie, the amount shown on the meter at the start of the journey and before it has commenced);(ii) a sum arrived at by reference to the length and duration of the journey in accordance with the rates set out in [40(2)].Paragraph 40(2) contains the rates chargeable according to formulae whose principal variables are time, speed and distance. The rates are amended from time to time by TfL pursuant to its power under s 1 of the 1907 Act. Paragraph 40(3) provides for a minimum fare, and [40(4)] specifies what additional sums may be charged (eg, for soiling the cab).
g. Paragraph 40A allows a cab driver to opt to charge a passenger an agreed fixed fare instead of using the taximcter. In such circumstances,  and  do not apply but Schedule E has effect instead. Paragraph 6(1) of Schedule E provides that where a cab is hired under the fixed fare arrangements, the driver of the motor cub shall not start the taximeter during the course of the passenger's journey except where' the passenger makes a request to be taken to a different destination (para. 6 (2)).
"It is our view that the requirement not to charge a wheelchair user extra means that, in practice, a meter should not be left running whilst the driver performs duties required by the Act, or the passenger enters, leaves or secures their wheelchair within the passenger compartment. We recommend that licensing authority rules for drivers are updated to make clear when a meter can and cannot be left running."
"The London Cab Order 1934, art 39, makes it clear that the meter must be set in motion as soon as the cab is hired, and not before and then stopped as soon the hiring is terminated, but art 39 allows the driver to start the meter later, or stop it earlier. Section 29 of the Equality Act 2010 makes it clear that a service-provider cannot discriminate against a disabled person, so it is important that he meter is not started until a wheelchair bound passenger is properly loaded and secured and is also stopped at the end of the journey, not when the unloading has been completed."
"Therefore, the meter must be used for all journeys within the district unless a fixed fare has been agreed in advance of the hiring. In those cases, the driver must ensure that the fare will not exceed the maximum that could be charged for that hiring and it is therefore clearly good practice to activate the meter. This protects the driver from any allegation of overcharging, whilst allowing the passenger to see what a 'bargain' they have successfully negotiated."