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 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.

    WAT licences

    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.

    The 2017 round of the WAT interest-free loans scheme was open from 1 to 31 May 2017. All applicants have been notified of the outcome of their applications.

    The WAT Loan scheme is currently under review as part of the Transport Disability Incentives and Services (TDIS) Review. The outcomes of the review will be announced in early 2018. To be informed about future developments in the WAT loan scheme including future funding rounds, please email  TransportSocialPolicy@transport.nsw.gov.au.

    Further information about the TDIS review, including how you can have your say, can be found on the Transport Disability Incentives and Subsidies page.

    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. 

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