Travel subsidies for people with disability or mobility issues
Visiting family or making the trip to work each day could be easier with Total Mobility, a nationwide transport scheme administered by regional councils and aimed at giving people with disabilities mobility options.
Life Unlimited is a registered assessor in Hamilton, Waipā, Tauranga and Rotorua. Anyone can call Life Unlimited on 0800 008 011 for more information.
The scheme provides financial assistance, giving registered users a 50 per cent discount on taxi fares up to a maximum subsidy. The user pays the other half of the fare to the taxi driver. People who use the scheme must carry a valid Total Mobility photo ID card to get the discounted fare.
Barbara Tane (pictured right) from Life Unlimited in Hamilton knows how important it is for people with disability to be able to get out and about in the community. She assesses people in Hamilton city for eligibility for the Total Mobility scheme, and sees how it can make a difference for many people who might otherwise feel isolated.
“It means they can get out and carry on with the things they like to do – just everyday, ordinary life things, like going to church or the shops or to work.”
The service provided by Life Unlimited is unique in that Barbara will visit people at home to complete the assessment if they can’t travel to her Palmerston Street location. She’ll even take their photo for a Total Mobility ID card too. It’s an important service considering the difficulties applicants face accessing transport.
“I can spend a bit of time with them, just having a chat or they might show me around their garden. As part of the assessment we’ll talk about their condition, what difficulties they experience and what mobility equipment they need to get around.” Applicants may also need to provide information from their doctor or other healthcare provider.
Many of the people Barbara meets are experiencing significant life changes. They may be new to disability, recovering from surgery, or suddenly unable to drive. “For people who may have lost their licence, it gives them their independence back — lots of people don’t like having to rely on family to get around.
“One lady said she’s been given her life back and she’s not a prisoner in her own home anymore.”
Anyone in Hamilton, Waipa, Tauranga or Rotorua can call Life Unlimited on 0800 008 011 for more information about Total Mobility or to arrange an assessment. In other areas contact your local regional council to see how the scheme operates near you, or read the Total Mobility guide from the New Zealand Transport Agency.
Who is eligible for Total Mobility?
Anyone with a disability that 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
The disability can be permanent, temporary (has lasted, or is expected to last for six months or more) or fluctuating (able to use public transport some, but not all of the time). You can only use Total Mobility for transport not already funded by other sources like the Ministry of Health or job support funding from Workbridge.
Examples of mobility limitations which would quality for Total Mobility
- If you’re unable to walk to the nearest bus stop or get on and off a bus because of pain, respiratory problems, inability to see or hear, you rely on complex walking aids or if you need someone else’s help to get around
- Total loss of or severe impairment of vision which prevents you from using public transport alone
- Intellectual or psychiatric disabilities which may mean you need help from someone else.
Information for Total Mobility transport operators
All Total Mobility drivers will need special training so they can assist passengers with special needs and safely use hoists and ramps if their vehicle is equipped with them. You can find more information about driver training requirements in the Total Mobility scheme policy guide.
Total Mobility driver training is available from Passrite.
You may also be interested in Disability Start Training delivered by Life Unlimited.