Disabled Persons Assembly Press Release 15.12.2022
The announcement yesterday that the 75% Total Mobility (TM) subsidy is not just being extended as part of the half price public transport policy, but will be permanent from 1 April 2023 is welcome news, the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA) says.
Disabled people want to access the community and inaccessible transport is a major barrier to us doing this.
The Total Mobility scheme subsidises taxis for disabled people who cannot independently use regular public transport services some or all of the time.
“Last year DPA carried out research with MRCagney for Waka Kotahi on disabled people’s transport experiences and one of the major barriers raised by both disabled people and providers was the cost of TM taxis,” DPA Chief Executive Prudence Walker says.
Prior to the Covid pandemic the TM subsidy was 50%. During the Covid lockdown period TM taxis became free, then when the half price public transport policy was introduced and applied to the TM scheme, an effective 75% subsidy came into effect.
“We know that during the Covid lockdown period when TM taxis were free, the numbers of disabled people using them went up dramatically, and anecdotally we are hearing the same with the 75% subsidy,” Ms Walker says.
“The removal/reduction of the cost barrier of taxis as part of the pandemic response has had a significant positive impact on many disabled people’s access to the community.”
“Access to affordable and accessible transport plays a vital role in people’s participation in society and personal wellbeing; from enabling access to vital appointments and employment, to those events and connections that enhance wellbeing.
“The lack of viable, affordable transport options can lead to social exclusion. Too often we hear that transport options have been so expensive that disabled people end up choosing not to participate.
“The continuation of the 75% discount will at least reduce this barrier for now.
“We understand a review of TM scheme is due to start next year and hope that its recommendations will further improve transport accessibility for disabled people.”