San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Seeing Eye Dogs Don’t Pay Fares

SEEING eye dogs do not have to pay bus fares, according to a decision last week by the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court (Sala IV).The decision came in response to a request for an injunction filed by Roy Rojas, a 25-year-old blind student, against the bus company Transportes Unidos Alajuelenses S.A. (TUASA).Rojas filed the request after an incident in May in which he and his seeing eye dog boarded a bus on the Heredia- Alajuela route and the driver charged him two fares – one for Rojas and one for his dog.The court ruled that the act constituted discrimination against a blind person, because a guide dog is an organic extension of the blind person, and no extra fare should be charged for the animal. The Sala IV justices ordered TUASA to pay damages to Rojas.A year ago, the chamber ordered taxis to have auditory meters and the government to modify paper money to allow blind passengers to differentiate denominations by touch (TT, Sept. 3, 2004). In November the court ruled a blind man could enter and eat in a restaurant with his guide dog.

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