Tomorrow marks a victory in the long battle to
ensure that wheelchair users are actually able to travel in so-called
wheelchair accessible taxis.
PIAC Solicitor Gemma Namey said new rules coming
into effect from 1 October 2011 mean only genuinely accessible taxis will be
licensed for wheelchair passengers.
Previously, an absurd situation existed where some wheelchair
users were prevented from travelling in many supposedly wheelchair accessible
taxis because of poor design.
For a number of years, PIAC has been highlighting the
problems with the space inside these vehicles.
Acting on behalf of Greg Killeen, PIAC filed a
disability discrimination complaint in the Federal Court against Transport NSW and two 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. The complaint was
withdrawn following the announcement of the new rules.
‘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,’ Ms Namey said.
‘The new rules resolve the problem. The rules
increase the minimum amount of useable space within all new wheelchair
‘This is a welcome development,’ Ms Namey noted. ‘It
means wheelchair users can feel confident that
wheelchair accessible taxis are safe and useable.’
PIAC Media and Communications Officer, Keren Lavelle: Ph: 02 8898 6532