Boost to support payments for customers and drivers of wheelchair accessible taxis
Sunday 29 May 2016
Eligible customers and drivers of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATs) will have access to increased support payments from July 1 as part of a $15.5 million boost to deliver more accessible services.
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the changes would also boost the numbers of WATs through loans and driver incentives, as well as increased payments to customers through the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS).
“One of the clear winners of our point to point reforms are people with disability, with a comprehensive package to boost the supply of services and subsidies for customers to ensure their drivers get them from A to B safely,” Mr Constance said.
“Eligible TTSS customers will start to receive their new docket books in coming weeks, and be able to use them from July 1, doubling the cap to $60 on trips.
“WAT drivers will also benefit with their incentive payment almost doubling from $7.70 to $15 per trip that assists a wheelchair user.
“We’ve already reduced the cost of a Wheelchair Accessible Taxi licence to zero, and today’s announcement will help ensure customers and drivers have the right mix of subsidies and incentives to get to where they need to go.”
NSW Government WAT licences have specific conditions on operators to ensure that bookings for passengers in wheelchairs are given the highest priority.
WAT service providers will also benefit from the reforms with an increase to the loan pool to help purchase a new vehicle, or retrofit an existing one.
“We already know there’s an increase in demand for WAT licences from the industry, and with the new and improved $5 million loan pool, WAT providers can soon apply and start to plan for their new accessible taxi service,” Mr Constance said.
“From 1 July, the maximum interest-free loan of $30,000 will be increased to $100,000, and the pool of funds increased from $1 million to $5 million.”
Minister for Disability Services John Ajaka said the reforms are critical to improving the lives of people with disability and the frail aged, ensuring they continue to have access to safe and convenient transport options.
“Alongside the delivery of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the NSW Government is also looking into all of its services, particularly transport, to ensure that people with disability are catered for,” Mr Ajaka said.
Transport for NSW will be writing to TTSS customers, taxi drivers and taxi service providers to let them know about the changes in coming weeks.
To apply for the first round of the new WAT loan pool go to www.rms.nsw.gov.au
For more information on point to point reforms go to www.transport.nsw.gov.au/pointtopoint
Dominic Cuschieri I Minister Constance I 0467 741 503
Julian Crowley I Minister Ajaka I 0429 891 159
View the original media release.