Stories detailing the lack of wheelchair taxis are all too common. Access to appropriate transport makes a huge difference to people's lives, their ability to gain employment and to take part in public activities.
Brett uses a wheelchair for mobility. Enjoying a night out with friends he rang for a wheelchair taxi to take him home. Despite five local taxi companies having a contract requiring them to provide a 24/7 wheelchair taxi service, he was informed that no van was available.
Stranded, late at night, Brett was lifted into an ordinary taxi and taken home without his wheelchair. He had to be lifted into his home. He was picked up again the next morning by the taxi company to collect his chair and was transported home in the wheelchair van.
Amy is a writer and also lectures at a local University. Amy has Cerebral Palsy and requires a wheelchair taxi to transport her in her power wheelchair and her dog to work and to social engagements.
Amy was invited to do a live interview on Radio New Zealand about the accessibility challenges she faces in her life but was unable to make it to the studio because it is impossible to book at wheelchair taxi in Auckland during commuter hours.
While the taxi companies have been challenged regarding their policies and contracts, accessibility legislation would ensure much more stringent monitoring of existing regulations so that Brett and Amy would never have a similar experience again.
This is a story about the barriers many face. We're sharing it because we want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.