Waitara’s weekly ‘taxi day’ is proving popular with townsfolk, particularly those who are unable to use buses and have no other way to go shopping or get to medical appointments.
New Plymouth Taxis has a car in the town from 9am to 3pm on Thursdays, under a trial coordinated by the Taranaki Regional Council. The trial’s been running 30 weeks, with more than 400 trips made so far and patronage growing by 60%.
Regular passenger Pauline Hunt is grateful for the service and praises the New Plymouth Taxis driver, Lynn O’Keeffe, who takes pride in the service he offers to the Waitara community. “He’s very good, very polite, and really nice to talk to,” says Mrs Hunt.
Nearly three-quarters of the trips so far have been subsidised under the Council-administered Total Mobility scheme, which provides transport assistance for those with impairments preventing them from using public transport.
“We’re grateful to New Plymouth Taxis for generously providing this public service, as it’s not economically viable for them to have a car in Waitara,” says the Council’s Transport Services Manager, Chris Clarke. “But the growth in patronage is encouraging and if it continues, we might be able to consider extending to a second day next year.”
Pre-book your travel to ensure you don’t miss out, particularly if you have appointments. Phone New Plymouth Taxis on 06 757 3000.
The future of the service will be decided after a review in January 2020.
About Total Mobility
The Total Mobility scheme provides subsidised door-to-door transport to people with impairments that prevent them from using public transport in a safe and dignified manner. The transport is provided throughout Taranaki by approved operators – taxi companies and companion driving services.
Application forms to join the Total Mobility scheme are available at medical centres, or through AccessAbility, or can be downloaded from the Taranaki Regional Council’s website (www.trc.govt.nz/total-mobility). The Total Mobility team at the Council is happy to help with queries regarding the scheme – phone them on 0800 868 662.