People with disabilities who depend on taxis will benefit from a higher level of service and reliability with the State Government appointing two taxi dispatch services to co-ordinate Multi-Purpose Taxis (MPTs).
The decision to increase the number of dispatch services from one to two is aimed at improving performance standards for passengers and provides MPT operators with the choice of working with a taxi dispatch service that best meets their operating requirements.
Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah MacTiernan has announced that both Black and White Taxis and Swan Taxis have been appointed MPT co-ordinators.
MPTs are a specialised fleet of taxis that give priority to the transport of customers with mobility problems, particularly people in wheelchairs.
“A key motivation in issuing this tender is to ensure improvement of dispatch services for passengers,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“Taxi dispatch services will now be requiring more efficient booking facilities through the use of technology such as GPS to make sure more jobs are done.
“Both Swan Taxis and Black and White Taxis will have to maintain a fleet of at least 30 MPTs under the terms of their appointment, which is effective from October 1.
“This is just part of a raft of improvements we have made to the MPT industry over the past year.
“In response to industry feedback, drivers can work for either taxi dispatch service.
“We have also responded to calls from MPT plate owners to undertake a buy-back of transferable MPT plates and are working hard to ensure that priority is given to the MPT segment of the taxi industry so that despite their need to have specialised vehicles, operators can earn a reasonable income and offer a quality service.
“In a further demonstration of the importance of a high quality MPT industry, we have introduced a MPT driver cadetship, which trains taxi drivers to provide the additional and specialised services required when delivering this customised and important service.
“This cadetship will result in a higher number of drivers available to operate MPTs.”
The Minister said there had been increasing demand for MPTs both from an ageing population and the continuing successful integration of people with disabilities into the mainstream community and workforce.
The Gallop Government has also shown its support for the industry by issuing additional 12 MPT plates this year and committing to release a further 12 MPT plates per annum until 2008.
“We have taken strong action to stabilise the industry, place it on a firm financial footing and to improve the level of service and reliability,” Ms MacTiernan said.
“In addition, Government contributes approximately $6.5million a year in taxi travel subsidies for Western Australians with disabilities.
“MPTs play an essential role in the lives of people with disabilities - without these services, they would not be able to do the kinds of things the rest of the community takes for granted like going to work, shopping, attending medical appointments and meeting with family and friends.
“I will continue to examine ways to improve the service and viability of MPTs to ensure that this essential community service continues to operate effectively.
“This is part of our commitment to improve the quality of services for all Western Australians.”
Minister's office: 9213 6400