Wheelchair accessible taxis
A wheelchair accessible taxi (WAT) is a vehicle that has been modified to safely accommodate at least one and up to three wheelchairs.
Providers of WAT services have a primary duty of care to ensure the safety of their services. They also have an obligation to ensure all WAT drivers must be able to demonstrate competence in the safe loading, restraint, carriage and unloading of a customer in a wheelchair.
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.
Important changes to driver details for TTSS dockets
From 1 November 2017, taxi drivers will need to complete the TTSS docket using their driver licence number instead of their driver authority number.
Drivers are also reminded of the payment requirement to complete all trip details (including trip times) and the need to engage and disengage the taxi meter at the start and end of each TTSS trip.
Drivers will need to have the new Passenger Transport code on their driver licence record to receive TTSS payments, to enable Transport for NSW to validate that the driver is a point to point transport driver.
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 using the TTSS for payment 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 on TTSS is available on 1800 200 592.
To support the operation of existing and new WAT services across NSW, WAT licences are available free of charge at any time.
Annual WAT licences in Sydney continue to have terms of up to 10 years.
If you are interested in applying for a WAT licence or operating a WAT vehicle on an existing standard taxi licence, please visit the Point to Point Transport Commissioner website for more information.
WAT interest-free loans
The Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) interest free loans scheme is designed to assist taxi operators in NSW to place new and additional WATs into operation. Loans are to fund the cost of purchasing and modifying a vehicle for use as a WAT, or retrofitting an existing vehicle for use as a WAT. Loans of up to $100,000 are available, from a pool of $5 million.
The 2018 round of the WAT interest-free loans scheme opened on 30 July 2018 and will close on 31 August 2018. Please note that in the current round no applications will be accepted for WATs in metropolitan Sydney. Applications in relation to WATs that will operate outside of metropolitan Sydney are invited.
Read the WAT loan Guidelines and conditions of funding 2018 to check you meet the eligibility criteria and then complete and submit the application form.
The application form needs all sections completed (that are relevant to you) and must be legible. You must also attach:
An itemised invoice for the vehicle and modifications.
Financial Statements for the last three years (or individual tax returns for individual owner/operators)
Wheelchair accessible taxi measurement protocol
The Point to Point Transport (Taxis and Hire Vehicles) Regulation 2017 (the Regulation) sets out the measurement requirements for WATs and other wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs).
The Regulation provides that all WATs and WAVs that were in operation on 31 October 2017 and that met the requirements under the Regulations in force on that day, have until 1 November 2019 to comply with the new requirements.
In practice this means that all WATs used for the first time after 1 October 2011 would have been required to meet the Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Measurement Protocol as published on 3 March 2011 (PDF, 123.05 KB) .
Other taxis that were in service before 3 March 2011 that continued to be in operation as at 31 October 2017 and that met the standards in force at that date, are also permitted to continue to operate until 31 October 2019.
Any non-compliant vehicles need to be replaced or upgraded by 1 November 2019. After this date, all WATs and WAVs will be required to comply with standards set out in the Regulation.
All WATs in NSW, regardless of when they commenced operation, are required to meet the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport, published by the Commonwealth Government.