A wheelchair accessible taxi (WAT) is a vehicle that has been specially modified to safely accommodate at least one and up to three wheelchairs. Both the wheelchair and the passenger must be able to be safely secured in the vehicle.
WATs are a key part of the NSW public transport system and drivers of WAT vehicles undergo special training after being issued with a driver authority.
Residents of NSW who are unable to use public transport and rely on WATs because of a severe and permanent disability may qualify for the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS).
TTSS subsidises the travel cost of participants, allowing them to travel by taxi at half fare. The current maximum subsidy that can be claimed is $60.
Incentive payment for WAT drivers
As part of the NSW Government’s point to point industry reforms, the incentive payment to wheelchair taxi drivers when they carry passengers in wheelchairs increased from $7.70 (ex GST) to $15 (ex GST) for each wheelchair passenger carried in a WAT taxi from 1 July 2016.
The payment is made to WAT drivers at no cost to passengers.
This payment is only for the driver of the WAT and is designed to improve reliability and response times for passengers, and to support WAT drivers in achieving these improvements. The NSW Government is committed to continuing to improve wheelchair accessible taxi services and supporting WAT drivers in achieving these improvements.
Further information is available on 1800 200 592.
To support the operation of existing and new WAT services across NSW, the NSW Government has removed the $1,000 licence fee for WAT vehicle licences in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong, so that all WAT licences are available free of charge at any time.
In addition, afternoon shift change restrictions have been removed that had prevented flexible management of WAT services, so drivers can focus on giving preference to trips by passengers travelling in their wheelchairs and providing the best level of service. Annual WAT licences in Sydney will retain their terms of up to 10 years.
These measures support the viability of these important services and their availability to people with disabilities across NSW. Applicants who are committed to providing high levels of customer service to people with disabilities are encouraged to apply for a WAT licence (PDF), or can operate a WAT vehicle on an existing standard taxi licence.
WAT interest-free loans
The NSW Government offers financial assistance by way of an interest-free loan to assist with the purchase of new or additional WATs.
On 1 July 2016, the interest-free loans scheme was expanded from $1 million to $5 million a year. The loan can now fund the full cost of putting a new WAT on the road, or retrofitting an existing one with loans of up to $100,000 available, from a pool of $5 million each year for the next four years – a total of $20 million.
For more information on the expanded interest-free loans scheme and to stay up-to-date on when the next round of applications open, please visit the Roads and Maritime Services website.
Wheelchair accessible taxi measurement protocol
The purpose of this protocol is to provide persons undertaking vehicle modifications, persons registered with Roads and Maritime Services as engineering signatories and taxi builders with the measurement requirements for Wheelchair Accessible Taxis in compliance with the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT) 2002. This protocol is for vehicles put on the road as a Wheelchair Accessible Taxi until 30 September 2011.
Wheelchair accessible taxi measurement protocol (Effective 1 October 2011)
The purpose of this protocol is to provide persons undertaking vehicle modifications, persons registered with Roads and Maritime Services as engineering signatories and taxi builders with the measurement requirements for vehicles being used as a Wheelchair Accessible Taxi for the first time from 1 October 2011.
While this protocol is mandatory for vehicles being used as Wheelchair Accessible Taxi for the first time from 1 October 2011 there is no restriction on it being applied to vehicles coming on the road before 1 October 2011.
- Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Measurement Protocol from 2011 (pdf 123KB)
- List and map of licensed vehicle certifiers