Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan today announced two initiatives aimed at improving safety and access to taxis for people with disabilities.
Two programs - a nation-first introduction of Braille and tactile signage in taxis to assist customers who are vision impaired, and a three-month trial of a stand-by Multi-Purpose Taxi (MPT) to service wheelchair jobs - were launched by Ms MacTiernan on the steps of Parliament today.
The Minister said the State Government had provided almost $100,000 to fund Braille signages for the entire Western Australian taxi fleet.
“This signage means that for the first time, blind customers will be able to identify the taxi they are travelling in and confirm that it is a taxi, which is essential for their personal safety,” she said.
“The signs display the Taxi Registration number, both in Braille characters and tactile letters and numbers, manufactured in black on white to increase the signage visibility.”
Robyn McKenzie, executive officer of Blind Citizens Australia, the peak national advocacy body for people who are blind or vision impaired, commended the Government initiative.
“People in WA who are unable to see taxi numbers will now have access to the same information as someone with sight,” Ms McKenzie said.
“That means they will be able to travel more safely and to identify a taxi’s number, so they can speak up for themselves when they encounter issues.”
Ms MacTiernan said the introduction of a stand-by MPT service would form part of the State Government’s commitment to achieve a zero level of wheelchair jobs not covered.
“Having a stand-by vehicle dedicated to servicing wheelchair jobs will enable the taxi system to better cope with the high demand from customers needing to be driven to and from doctor’s appointments,” she said.
The new service will be operated by Black and White Taxis and will work on a 12-hour, seven days per week basis.
Jobs advertised on the taxi system for five minutes for other drivers will be allocated to the stand-by taxi if not responded to.
Taxi operators seeking more information about the signage and the stand-by MPT service should contact DPI Passenger Services on 9216 8000.
Minister's office - 9213 6400