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Council to discuss Total Mobility providers

Council to discuss Total Mobility providers

Horizons Regional Councillors will discuss whether private hire vehicles should be allowed to participate as Total Mobility providers during the next meeting of Council on June 24.

The Total Mobility scheme makes it easier for people to get around the Region by providing half price taxi travel for people whose ability to use public transport is impaired.

The scheme operates in five towns within the Region and has approximately 7,500 users. Under Horizons’ current policy, participation as a provider is limited to approved taxi organisations with private hire vehicles not party to the scheme unless they operate in an area without an approved taxi organisation in service.

Horizons chairman Bruce Gordon says Council’s decision to consider whether private hire vehicles should be included in the scheme stemmed from submissions to the draft Annual Plan.

“Driving Miss Daisy and the Horowhenua District Council both put forward submissions requesting that private hire vehicles be permitted to participate in the Total Mobility scheme,” Mr Gordon says.

“An increase in the number of operators will increase accessibility for Total Mobility users and may encourage more competitive fares, however we also need to consider safety implications and possible financial implications for Council.”

One major consideration is regulation of services. Approved taxi organisations are subject to stringent safety requirements in order to maintain a passenger transport service license provided by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).

Private hire vehicles do not have the same licensing requirement as approved taxi organisations, meaning NZTA would not intervene if poor levels of service were offered. However, this could be managed by Horizons through the contracts process.

Other key differences include the fact that private hire vehicles must be pre-booked, fares must be negotiated upon booking as these services cannot use a meter, private hire vehicles are not required to have security cameras or a duress alarm and there is no requirement to operate a log book detailing hours worked and trips taken.

Public speaking rights are available. Anyone wishing to speak to this item should contact Horizons on toll free number 0508 800 800 by 4pm Monday June 23.

More information and Council agendas are available online via the Council section of Horizons’ website www.horizons.govt.nz


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