Access taxi customers will enjoy reduced wait times and better services thanks to reforms to point-to-point passenger services.
The changes will be implemented as part of a 12-month trial commencing later this year and aim to dramatically reduce the time people with a disability need to wait for an access taxi.
Changes will include better incentives and a stronger regulatory framework, as the Marshall Liberal Government takes steps to address systemic issues impacting the delivery of accessible taxi services.
Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Corey Wingard said the changes are needed to improve critical accessible services for people with a disability.
“We are taking action to deliver certainty and better services for vulnerable people who rely on accessible taxi services,” Minister Wingard said.
“There are approximately 130,000 declined trips every year and more than 5,100 late pick-ups per year causing unnecessary stress and inconvenience for those who rely on these services and it’s simply not good enough.
“We’re making these changes so that everyone in our community can access taxi services when and where they need them as has been raised by the Human Rights Commission.
Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink welcomed the changes.
“People living with a disability deserve to have reliable and equitable services available to them – and that includes transport,” said Minister Lensink.
“We will continue to listen to feedback and concerns from people living with disability to ensure they get the transport services they need, on time and when they need them.”
The measures include replacing the existing lifting fee of $10 (plus $1 GST) and driver on-time bonus ($5) with an increased single lifting fee of $25 (with no on-time bonus payable to the driver).
This change will apply to access taxi trips where the South Australian Transport Subsidy Scheme (SATSS) is used and the lifting fee currently applies, as part of a 12-month trial.
Under the changes the department will also be able to ensure drivers and operators are meeting the new conditions and will be able to issue fines and other penalties to those who don’t comply.
An update to the current access taxi licence holder, operator and driver conditions will also help ensure that drivers give priority to people with a disability who need an access taxi to be able to travel around our communities.
These updates will enable effective compliance of the operation of access taxi licences by owners and operators so as to enforce standards and service requirements, such as training of drivers and passenger safety.
This will also enable effective enforcement against drivers when they refuse access jobs at times when they are required to give priority to wheelchair work.
“We have responded to concerns from the disability community and issues raised by the industry, as well as considering the data, when formulating this trial,” Minister Wingard said.
“We will closely monitor the effect of the 12-month trial in reducing wait times for people with a disability.
“We are also working with the access taxi Centralised Booking Service (CBS) to identify any other arrangements we can implement to improve services for the sector.”