A disabled man in Wiltshire says he was refused a taxi service because of his assistance dog, despite having collapsed on the pavement from exhaustion.

46-year-old Edward Jones described the events as “devastating and humiliating” after he was ignored by taxi drivers outside Chippenham railway station on two occasions.

Mr Jones recently moved from London to Chippenham and is registered disabled due to a long-term chronic illness which greatly affects his mobility.

On November 27, 2023, Mr Jones was returning from a weekend away with his nieces when, upon exiting Chippenham railway station, he collapsed on his way to the taxi rank outside.

He was unable to get up and began calling over to the taxis, waving his walking stick in the air for help.

He was told by the taxi driver closest to him that he would not take him because he was with a dog.

Mr Jones’ assistance dog, George, is a two-year-old Teacup Shih Tzu, who helps him with his mental health.

He explained: “The only thing that stops me breaking is being with my boy and getting out in fresh air.

“He's saved my life, because he makes me get out every day.”

Swindon Advertiser: Mr Jones says George saved his life.Mr Jones says George saved his life. (Image: Edward Jones)

Referring to the incident, Mr Jones said: “Is it deemed reasonable - me on the floor and not being able to get up for 30 minutes, a grown-arse man crying?

“I was bawling because I was so tired.

“I honestly thought I'm not going to be able to get home.”

Mr Jones explains he was ignored by “at least eight taxis” for what “felt like well over half an hour”, before three members of the public helped him.

He said the women attempted to reason with the taxi drivers but were unsuccessful and he was eventually driven home by one of the members of the public.

He said: “If she hadn't have done that, I honestly don't know how I would have got home.

“I think I would have had to dial 999.”

Mr Jones described the pain he was experiencing in his legs from fatigue as a “burning from the inside out.”

But he said he was put through the same ordeal again a month later with his nieces on December 29.

Upon arrival at Chippenham railway station and being in a similar state of exhaustion, he says two taxi drivers refused to take him, despite him struggling to walk, again claiming because he had the dog.

According to Mr Jones, explaining that George was an assistance dog made no difference.

Swindon Advertiser: The Equality Act 2010 states taxis must carry guide dogs and other assistance dogs.The Equality Act 2010 states taxis must carry guide dogs and other assistance dogs. (Image: Edward Jones)
He said he had to rely on his nieces to help him onto a bus.

He said: “These little 12-year-old girls, they've got no strength, literally trying to carry me home.

“That, in itself, was mortifying. Devastating and humiliating.”

Mr Jones has since been too worried to attempt similar journeys and describes feeling trapped and isolated in a new town.

He said: “For a human being to scoff and laugh at a disabled person and say, ‘we don't have to take you anywhere’, especially when they are collapsed on the floor, I'm like, well, where the hell have I moved to?”

When asked to comment, Great Western Railway said: "It is really disappointing to hear of Mr Jones’ experience at one of our stations.

"We would encourage anyone with further details to report the matter to the licensing authority (the local council) or provide us with the driver's details so we can consider an appropriate course of action."

Councillor Caroline Thomas, cabinet member for transport, at Wiltshire Council said: “We are sorry to hear about this incident.

“We take this matter very seriously and are investigating this specific complaint.”