Wheelchair taxi subsidy doubled to $60 per trip

PEOPLE with disabilities have waited 16 years for the New South Wales Government to increase its subsidy for wheelchair-accessible taxi trips.

The scheme provides people with disability a half-price fare, but the subsidy has remained capped at $30 per trip since 1999.

From July 1 it will double that cap to $60 a trip - providing a full 50% discount on fares up to $120.

Transport Minister Andrew Constance said a $15.5 billion program would also provide new loans and incentives for drivers to operate wheelchair-accessible taxis, in an effort to boost the number on the roads.

Eligible Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme customers will start to receive their new docket books in coming weeks.

"Wheelchair-accessible taxi drivers will also benefit with their incentive payment almost doubling from $7.70 to $15 per trip that assists a wheelchair user," Mr Constance said.

"From 1 July, the maximum interest-free loan of $30,000 (for drivers) will be increased to $100,000, and the pool of funds increased from $1 million to $5 million."

North Coast Greens MP Jan Barham called for the subsidy to be indexed to CPI so it would not once again fall behind in covering the cost of taxis.

"We must ensure there are enough wheelchair-accessible taxis on our roads, particularly in light of the legalisation of ride-sharing services like Uber," she said.

"I have also asked the government about how they will ensure ride-sharing companies do not discriminate against people with disabilities, which we have seen cases of in the past few months." -ARM NEWSDESK

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