‘Today is a victory for all people with disability who use wheelchairs and wheelchair accessible taxis.’ With those words, wheelchair user Greg Killeen marked the end of his five-year battle for accessible public transport.
Speaking outside the Federal Court, Mr Killeen (pictured), said he had never sought financial compensation in his campaign to have so-called wheelchair accessible taxis live up to their name.
‘The case was simply a matter of justice. All I wanted was for wheelchair accessible taxis to be just that – wheelchair accessible,’ Mr Killeen said.
Acting on behalf of Mr Killeen, PIAC filed a disability discrimination complaint in the Federal Court against Transport NSW, and two large taxi companies.
The complaint alleged Transport NSW and the taxi companies had breached national Disability Standards because many supposedly wheelchair accessible taxis were too small to be used
However, Mr Killeen and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) announced today they have withdrawn their disability discrimination claim because of a recent change in Transport NSW rules.
PIAC Solicitor Gemma Namey said new rules that come into effect from 1 October 2011 mean only genuinely accessible taxis will be licensed for wheelchair passengers.
‘Under previous guidelines, some wheelchair accessible taxis were unsafe because doors failed to close properly and access ramps intruded into the space where passengers were supposed to sit.
‘The new rules resolve the problem. Transport NSW will increase the minimum amount of useable space within all new wheelchair accessible taxis.
‘This is a welcome development. It means wheelchair users can feel confident that wheelchair accessible taxis are safe and useable,’ Ms Namey said.
Media contact: Dominic O’Grady, PIAC Media and Communications Officer. Ph: 02 8898 6532 or 0400 110 169.