Woman with guide dog rejected by taxi driver who drove off, injuring her

SINGAPORE - A taxi driver had apparently refused to ferry a visually impaired woman with a guide dog and drove off while she was standing near the taxi, causing her to fall and injure her knee.

Counsellor Cassandra Chiu, 35, related the incident which took place at Tanglin Shopping Centre on Monday night in a Facebook post, which was written in the voice of her guide dog Esme. Ms Chiu has previously written about being discriminated against on several occasions when her guide dog was not allowed into certain establishments.

On Monday, she wrote that the taxi driver refused to open the door for her, even after she explained that she was blind and the labrador was a certified guide dog.

The taxi started driving off, which left her on the floor "in a heap", she wrote. She later went to Singapore General Hospital to clean up her wounds, and added that she broke her ribs a few months ago when a taxi tried to drive off.

In her post, Ms Chiu said she was told that the taxi involved in Monday's incident was from ComfortDelGro.

She told The Straits Times on Wednesday: "Working guide dogs have been in existence in Singapore for almost 10 years...There has also been many other channels bringing about awareness on guide dogs. (But while) people may often read that guide dogs are allowed access into public places, their actions may not necessarily reflect this mindset."

In response to queries from The Straits Times, Ms Tammy Tan, ComfortDelGro's group corporate communications officer, said: "Under the Land Transport Authority's regulations, cabbies are not allowed to reject passengers with caged or muzzled pets unless they have health or religious reasons.

"The exception however does not apply to guide dogs which are allowed to go on board our taxis without muzzles. Any driver found guilty of rejecting customers without proper and valid reasons will be disciplined."

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