A national door-to-door transport scheme involving disability agencies, taxi companies/transport providers and local government is being extended into the Waikato district.
The Total Mobility Scheme is already operating in Hamilton, Tokoroa, Taupō and the Waipā district, and will be available for people with disabilities in Tamahere, Matangi and Newstead soon, followed by Raglan, Huntly and Ngāruawāhia.
Waikato Regional Council’s public transport manager, Andrew Wilson, said the scheme gave registered users a subsidy off taxi fares and door-to-door transport services. Total Mobility users would also be eligible for the Accessibility Concession, meaning they would also receive free bus travel in the area.
Mr Wilson encouraged anyone with a condition that prevented them from getting around on their own to sign up.
Regional Connections Committee Chair and Waikato regional councillor Angela Strange said it was exciting to see the expansion of the Total Mobility Scheme in the Waikato region.
“By partnering with our local councils, we are able to include more areas of our region thereby removing barriers to travel for those who have very few travel options. Our aspiration is to implement Total Mobility across the entire region over the next few years.”
The scheme will be introduced in the Thames-Coromandel and Matamata-Piako districts in the coming months.
Waikato District Council deputy mayor and Tamahere ward councillor Aksel Bech said approving funding for the Total Mobility Scheme to launch in the Waikato district was an easy decision to make.
“Being able to stay in touch with friends and family and go about your daily life is critically important for those with long-term impairments. The council providing funding to give access to appropriate transport for these members of our community was a no-brainer.”
Waikato District Council infrastructure committee chairman Eugene Patterson said the council was able to utilise transport providers already servicing Hamilton and Auckland.
“It’s fantastic that this initiative is now available in our district. Our community members who have disabilities can often feel left out and marginalised. This can often come down to the cost of transport. By having the council contribute towards the cost of a journey to the doctors, the supermarket or even to a friend’s house, it will enable them to get out and about more.”
A registration form for residents of Matangi, Newstead, Tamahere and Tauwhare can be completed online or via 0800 205 305. Once COVID-19 alert levels allow, a face-to-face eligibility assessment will be organised with a disability agency representative.
Under the scheme, Waikato District Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency will pay half the fare up to a maximum discount of $50 per trip, and the user pays the remainder.
To find out more and to register online, visit busit.co.nz or call 0800 205 305.
Senior communication advisor, Waikato District Council