Greg Killeen, disability advocate, has released the last part 3 of his series on accessible public transport in Australia. In this final part he discusses wheelchair accessible taxis (or a WAT).
Greg highlights that WATs have only been around since 1981 with their introduction into Sydney under a government funded subsidy scheme.
Since then, all states and territories using a WAT subsidy scheme, but Greg says the government funding varies across each state. He also says that despite this ability to seek funding to operate a WAT, there are many complaints made about lack or service or poor service.
My personal view is that a taxi should be inclusive and adaptable. A person shouldn’t have to wait for a ‘special’ vehicle to be available, which in regional areas may never be offered as there is ‘cost/benefit’ for the operator.
I think we need to re-think accessible taxis, similar to New York have done. New York has made a commitment that within 6 years HALF of their taxis will be accessible. This has necessitated a re-think on how taxis should look, and resulted in a great design that is inclusive for all.
by Lee Wilson, Disability Access Consultant