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					Victorian Taxi Directorate
Multi Purpose Taxi Program & Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (MPTP & WAT) The Program and Recent WAT Initiatives

Multi Purpose Taxi Program
• • • • • • • • • • History Benefits of the Multi Purpose Taxi Program (MPTP) Membership and Program Eligibility - Part 1 (Medical) - Part 2 (Means Test) Membership Card Terms and Conditions of Use Exempt Categories from the Annual Cap Additional Subsidy Interstate Travel

History of MPTP
The MPTP is a Victorian State Government subsidy program administered by the Victorian Taxi Directorate (VTD). It was established in 1983 to improve the accessibility of transport services for Victorians with a severe and permanent disability that significantly restricts their mobility and prevents them from independently accessing public transport.

Benefits of the MPTP
• Provides subsidised taxi travel to permanent Victorian residents with a severe and permanent disability who are unable to independently access public transport. • Current Subsidy – 50% up to a $120 taxi fare • Current Annual Limit is $2180 with the provision for Additional Subsidy.

Membership and Trips
• As at 1 June 2009 – 187,000 members • Approximately 26,000 wheelchair users • 4.6 million trips per annum, of which 640,000 are taken by members in wheelchairs

• Annual Budget – $44.4 million

Eligibility Criteria
Part 1 – Medical
• • • • • Severe and Permanent Disability Impaired Functional Mobility More than 2 years of Age Disability will not improve with further medical treatment Cannot independently access public transport (vision impaired applicants excepted)

Eligibility Criteria
Part 2 – Means Test
• Exempt Categories:     • Wheelchair Users Department of Veteran Affairs’ (DVA) Card Holder Means Tested Pension Card Holder Financial Hardship

Blind Pension recipients are subject to separate means test

Member Card
Example of MPTP member card:

Terms and Conditions
• The MPTP membership card can only be used by the person whose details are printed on the card however, members may have family and friends accompany them. • Only one subsidy applies to any single trip • The MPTP member must report the loss or theft of a MPTP membership card to the VTD as soon as possible.

Cap Exemptions
Categories Exempt from the Annual $2180 Subsidy Cap • • Permanently in a Wheelchair DVA Extreme Disability Adjustment (EDA) card holder

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Totally and Permanently Incapacitated (TPI) card holder
Blind/Vision Impaired; Brain Damaged; Dementia; Intellectual Impairment; Major Organ Disorder (Excluding Heart); and Paralysis

Additional Subsidy
Members can apply for a higher subsidy limit if they can show that they require a higher limit because of exceptional circumstances. Additional subsidy can be granted for the following reasons:  Employment  Health care  Education/Day Training  Day Program  Volunteering (8 hours or more a week)  Regular visits to a family member in a nursing home

Interstate Travel
The Multi Purpose Taxi Program is available interstate for current members who travel in taxis at the subsidised rate. Members must contact the VTD prior to travelling to arrange for Interstate Vouchers.

Recent WAT Initiatives

Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATs)
• Multi Purpose Taxi Program commenced in 1983  By the late 1980s there were 20 WATs in metropolitan Melbourne  An additional 50 licences were released in 1992 taking the total number of metro WATs to 70  In 1999 high occupancy vehicle (HOV) licences were offered. 96 were issued taking metro WAT total to 166 Current WAT numbers:  236 metropolitan  155 non metropolitan

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Lifting Fee
In recognition of the higher operating costs of WATs, and because it was perceived as unfair to have the meter on during the loading and unloading of wheelchairs, a lifting fee was introduced in 1991. • • • • • • $3.00 initially $6.00 in April 1993 $6.60 GST inclusive in July 2000 $10.00 in July 2004 $14.00 in December 2008 $14.20 as of September 2009 after CPI change

At least two thirds of the fee must go to the driver. These fees should never be charged directly to a passenger. In non metropolitan areas, a $7.10 fee is paid when wheelchair passengers can transfer to a sedan.

Behind Recent Change:
• Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) report, Time to Respond Essential Services Commission (ESC) Report Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT) – standards that ensure compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)

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Objective and Commitment
‘DSAPT imposes only one objective for Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WATs) to achieve before the end of 2007: that WATs have the same response time as that for other taxis.’ – VEOHRC Report, Time to Respond, November 2007

Initial Action
• Lifting fee increased to $14.00 (currently $14.20 after CPI increase) • Trip subsidy cap doubled to $60.00 • The release of 330 metro WAT licences announced by Minister – proportion of WATs to increase from 6% to 15% of entire metro fleet • WAT Performance Based Booking System pilot announced

Performance Based Booking System
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A pilot Performance Based Booking System was conducted successfully with four non metropolitan Network Service Providers (NSPs) All NSPs involved in the pilot signed on to an ongoing Performance Based Booking System, and the opportunity to participate in the system has been offered to all Victorian non metropolitan NSPs that operate a WAT NSPs are required to provide weekly data reports to the Victorian Taxi Directorate (VTD) so that their service level can be calculated in the areas of taxi, phone call and complaint response times For the first time non metropolitan NSPs are being paid to manage their WAT bookings

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Metropolitan Pilot
• Under the previous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), metropolitan NSPs were paid a flat fee per month for each affiliated WAT, and for each WAT booking dispatched, regardless of the quality of service delivered

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On 30 June 2009 this MOU was ceased
By the end of July 2009 both metropolitan NSPs (Black Cabs Combined and Silver Top Taxi Service) agreed to participate in a new Performance Based Booking System pilot – currently underway – modelled on the non metropolitan system When the metropolitan NSPs move to an ongoing agreement, payments made for metropolitan WAT bookings will be performance based for the first time

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WAT Compliance Strategy
The VTD has committed to an ongoing effort to improve the provision of taxi services to wheelchair users • • Since May 2009, at least one third of WAT operators have been audited and questioned on the basis of their performance VTD Transport Safety Officers (TSOs) have conducted and will continue to conduct targeted operations at major events and elsewhere to ensure that WATs are prioritising WAT work Increased and concerted focus on making sure that WAT drivers are trained to deliver safe and reliable taxi services to wheelchair users

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Increased vehicle inspections; WATs now required to undergo comprehensive inspection every six months rather than once a year

WAT User Responsibilities
• • • • • Wheelchairs and mobility scooters must fit within an allocated space of 1300mm long and 800mm wide as set out in the AS/NZS 1428.2 Mobility aids must have appropriate anchor points for restraining The combined weight of the passenger and mobility aid must be within the capacity of the WAT’s lifting equipment Mobility scooter users must transfer from the scooter to a seat in the vehicle If an MPTP member requires the use of a WAT, it is important that they ensure they have the correct wheelchair or mobility scooter card. This card has a “1” at the beginning of the card number, enabling driver to claim the lifting fee. Upgrade forms are available from the VTD

Advice for MPTP Members
• • Your card can potentially be used by others to engage in fraudulent activity Be sure to retrieve your card from the driver at the end of each trip

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Make sure the card you are given back is your own
A WAT driver should not automatically charge at a higher rate for a wheelchair hiring. High occupancy rate and late night surcharge may apply Report a lost or stolen card immediately to the VTD Always obtain a receipt

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Feedback & Complaints
The VTD strongly encourages customers to report their taxi experiences. Feedback and complaints not only enable us to act on unacceptable behaviour, they also alert us to potential issues or bad practices within the industry.

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In order complain:  Keep the receipt as it contains all the information required to take the matter further If unable to obtain a receipt:  Note the taxi number, which is a four digit number following a letter displayed on the sides, licence plates and dashboard of the taxi  Note the time and date of the trip

Contact Details
Victorian Taxi Directorate Multi Purpose Taxi Program Level 23, 80 Collins Street, Melbourne GPO Box 2797 Melbourne VIC 3001

Telephone: 1800

638 802

Internet address: www.taxi.vic.gov.au


				
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posted:12/18/2009
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