Poor transport opportunities for women with disabilities can contribute to social isolation. Many women with disabilities in the ACT rely heavily on Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) services because they are without private vehicles and cannot access public transport easily. Taxis are very important to women with disabilities’ social inclusion and to their active participation in the social and economic life of the community, yet reliance on WAT services is imperfect and can involve long waiting times and inconvenience.
WCHM worked with a collaborative group to highlight the views of people with disabilities in the Canberra community and to address the issue of an inadequate system of wheelchair accessible taxis in the ACT. The WAT Consortium included representatives from People with Disabilities ACT (PWD), Women With Disabilities ACT (WWDACT), the ACT Disability Council, the MS Society, Sharing Places and ACT Council Of Social Services (ACTCOSS).
The WAT Consortium provided feedback in the form of a submission to the ACT Government’s review of the taxi industry, which proposed three potential models to improve taxi services for people with disabilities. The group also responded to the Review’s draft report compiled by Price Water House Coopers, prior to the Final Report recommendations being sent to the ACT Government. A significant number of the recommendations in the WATs Consortium submission were agreed to, either in part or in full, in the Government’s Final Report.