We’re calling on the NSW Government to retain the Transport Taxi Subsidy Scheme (TTSS) for all, including NDIS participants, and pushing for improvements to ensure the blind and low vision community have equal and independent access to the scheme.
As our submission to the Transport Disability Incentives and Subsidies review shows, the scheme needs to be extended to all point-to-point transport services, such as Uber. We have also urged the NSW government to replace the existing paper based voucher system with an accessible method.
The Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS) provides support for NSW residents who are unable to use public transport because of a disability. The subsidy covers 50% of the total fare with a maximum subsidy of $60 per journey and is claimed using travel dockets.
“A passenger using an M40 voucher is required to sign it as a way of verifying the journey. However, for our community, we’re unable to read the information that a taxi driver handwrites on the paper voucher. Many of our clients have told us that they are concerned about the extent of their legal liability in the event that a driver knowingly or unknowingly completes the voucher incorrectly or claims the wrong amount,” Vision Australia Lead Policy Advisor Bruce Maguire said.
“Some people instruct the driver to write "unable to sign" on the voucher as a way of mitigating potential liability, but this is an undignified and demeaning solution that must be addressed at a systemic level,” Mr Maguire said.
In addition, there is significant scope to improve the quality of services that are provided to people who are blind or have low vision or live with any other disability.
“Clients continue to report instances where they have been dropped off at the incorrect destination, often a considerable distance from their actual destination. In such cases it’s difficult or impossible for a passenger who is blind or has low vision to know where they are with sufficient precision to book a taxi or other service to take them to their original destination," Mr Maguire said.
“One client reported that they were on the verge of calling 000, to see if the police could come and find them when a passer-by offered some assistance. We regularly hear from clients about drivers who cannot spell common suburb names and who have virtually no knowledge of the local area apart from what their GPS tells them. Change is desperately needed."
Find out more about Vision Australia's submissions and public policies here.