Help with transport costs
Having access to transport means you and the person you care for can get out and about and meet up with friends, go to school, or see the doctor or other healthcare providers when necessary.
If you are finding it hard to cover the costs of transport, here are some places you can get help.
National Travel Assistance
The Ministry of Health provides National Travel Assistance which can be used to claim the cost of travel away from home for medical treatment. It may cover the cost of accommodation as well.
If your child or someone you care for has a long-term disability and you need modifications to a vehicle so they can travel safely, the Ministry of Health may be able to help with things like special seating, safety restraints, ramps, hoists and safe ways of transporting wheelchairs. In a small number of cases they may also be able to help you buy a car to be modified.
Special Education Transport Assistance (SESTA)
The Ministry of Education provides assistance with transport for school-aged children with disabilities who need help getting to school safely. SESTA may involve transport by school bus or another contracted transport provider, or an allowance to help cover the cost of transport.
Work and Income
The Disability Allowance from Work and Income can be used to contribute toward the cost of transport. Work and Income may also be able to help with health-related travel costs in certain circumstances, or help if you experience unexpected transport related costs like urgent car repairs.
Total Mobility scheme
If the person you care for is unable to travel safely on public transport, they may be eligible for subsidised taxi services. The Total Mobility scheme issues vouchers or an electronic card that allows the holder to receive a 50 percent discount on normal taxi, or other specialist transport provider, fares (up to a maximum fare set by your local Total Mobility operator).
Total Mobility may be available if a person’s disability prevents them from undertaking any one or more of the following parts of an unaccompanied journey by public transport in a safe and dignified manner:
- Get to the place where the transport departs
- Get on to the transport
- Ride securely
- Get off the transport
- Get to the final destination
Read the user guide to Total Mobility at the New Zealand Transport Agency website for more information about how Total Mobility works. The user guide includes contact information for the Total Mobility operator and participating taxi companies in each region.
Check out this story about Barbara Tane from Life Unlimited who assesses people living in Hamilton city for eligibility to Total Mobility.
Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)
ACC can help people with transport needs if their disability is the result of an accident.
Lottery Grants are available to people with mobility or communication related disabilities. Grants can be used to buy a vehicle or mobility scooter, or to modify a vehicle to meet your needs.
Some organisations provide volunteer services to help people with disabilities or other health needs attend medical appointments:
St John Health Shuttle is a free community service that transports people to essential medical and health-related appointments, and then brings them home again.
Blind Foundation has volunteer drivers in many areas of the country to help people get to important eye clinics or Blind Foundation appointments.
Red Cross has volunteer drivers to help people all around New Zealand who, for medical, mobility or financial reasons, find it difficult to get to appointments.
Other funding options
If you and your family’s transport costs can’t be met by your own income or government-funded services, then check out our page about finding other funding options.