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Taxi becomes more expensive for disabled people (Texas)

Texas, AU — Majority of disabled individuals are already spending a huge amount of money just to get around the city. However, things might just get heavier for them.

On June 30 of last year, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) officially rolled-out for Australian persons with disabilities. It aims to give support (financial and other forms) to disabled individuals. It may seem like great news to the PWD’s, but they’re not the only ones benefitting from it.

Following the NDIS roll-out, some states are taking advantage of the program. On April 1st, the State Government called for an increase to the amount refundable via the Taxi User Subsidy Scheme. Furthermore, some states are even planning to eliminate taxi subsidies, forcing people with disabilities to rely on negligible transport funding. It’s this mentality that will leave PWD’s stranded – literally.

What’s even sadder is that none of these states seem to realize that the NDIS doesn’t necessarily cover transportation costs.

“At present, the vast majority of NDIS participants in Queensland are not receiving adequate transport funding in their packages,” General Manager of Advocacy and Engagement at Vision Australia, Karen Knight says.

Parents of a 28-year old NDIS participant also came forward to express themselves. “We were told the NDIS is supposed to be here to give you the control and resources to use the funds to live the life you want to live and they’re saying ‘no, you can’t use this money to pay for the taxis’,” Elly Olbrich said.

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Elly and Gary Olbrich with their disabled son named Michael.

Samantha Jenkinson, executive director of People With Disabilities WA, claims that making disabled people pay extra is unfair. “For people who are blind, vision impaired, as well as those who use mobility aids including electric wheelchairs or scooters, transportation by taxi is very important and may be the only form of transport that someone has,” she said.

Vision Australia is calling for State and Federal Governments to finalize their decisions in the next two years.

“Recently governments in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania have recognized that people would be left worse off under the NDIS,” she says. “They have committed additional funding to their taxi schemes, now it’s the Queensland Government’s turn to do the same.”

With the support of other disability support sector, they were able to create a petition. You can show your support and help by signing the petition here.

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