Probe after mum claims taxi driver refused fare because she was carrying beer

Alison Dawson.
Alison Dawson.

A MUM from Sheffield was left “gobsmacked” when a taxi driver refused to let her travel in his black cab because she was carrying a pack of beer.

Alison Dawson, aged 46, of Manor Oaks Garden, Hyde Park, attempted to board with her bags of shopping outside the Co-op on Castle Street in the city centre.

But she said the driver spotted her 12-pack of Cobra beer and told her: “You’re not getting in this cab.”

Alison was allowed to travel in another taxi without any problems - and thinks the first driver may have refused her because of religious beliefs.

Sheffield Council, which regulates black cabs, told her to submit a complaint.

Alison, who works on Pickles Farms stall in Castle Market, said she had six bags of shopping as well as the alcohol and went to catch the taxi home at around 4.10pm.

“I went to the first taxi in the rank. He wound his window down and said ‘What’s that?’ I said ‘What’s what?’ He looked at the beer and said ‘You’re not getting in this cab - you can get in another’.”

Alison, who has a nine-year-old son Lukas Dawson-Fell, said: “I was panicking, I had to get home because my son wasn’t feeling well. I was absolutely gobsmacked. I think it was because of his faith. I’m not xenophobic, but if he’s a taxi driver, that’s his job.

“I’m a strict vegetarian, but I don’t say I’m refusing to serve sausages at work. I don’t believe in any sort of discrimination. Does he not let people get in when they’ve been in a pub?”

Alison said she bought the beer for her partner James Bryson, 30, and remarked she “doesn’t even drink”.

“The next driver was absolutely fine. I rang the council and they advised me to put it into a complaint.”

Council chief licensing officer Clive Stephenson said: “We would not comment on this particular incident as we are still awaiting Mrs Dawson’s complaint and it is, therefore, an ongoing investigation.

“I cannot condone the response described by Mrs Dawson, as we believe the vast majority of our taxi drivers offer a very good service to the people of Sheffield.

“We take complaints very seriously and investigate all complaints fully when received.”