Karley Parker and Ari Kerssens from Retina Youth call to reinstate free taxis under the Total Mobility scheme.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Total Mobility (TM) scheme was extended to included fully-funded taxis. This helped ensure that TM card users could access essential services, which was invaluable to those who experience mobility barriers. However, the fully-funded taxi initiative ended soon after lockdown restrictions were lifted.
In response, the ‘Free Fares to Freedom’ petition was launched with the aim of reinstating fully-funded taxis. While most New Zealanders had their restrictions lifted at the end of lockdown, many people with access needs were once again reduced to restricted travel, due to a lack of affordable transport options.
Karley Parker and Ari Kerssens from Retina Youth were among many who were sad to see the Total Mobility fully-funded taxi initiative come to an end in July 2020. They saw the profound benefits that free taxi transport had for thousands of Kiwis with limited mobility, especially the blind and low vision community. So they decided to do something about it.
Questions for TM Card Users
Karley and Ari have been asking TM card users:
“How did free Total Mobility transport during lockdown empower/enable you? We are looking for stories and experiences from anybody about how fully-funded taxis helped make independent life easier. We want to know what a meaningful difference it would make for you if fully-funded taxis were to become permanent. Or if, at the very least, we had an update to the concession that is currently no cheaper than an Uber?”
Karley and Ari would like to hear responses to these questions from people who use the Total Mobility scheme. They can be contacted at [email protected] and on 0800 569 849 ext 6 (Ari).
Lived Experience Stories
TM card user stories will be included with an online petition, which will be submitted to parliament. Progress reports are regularly uploaded to Facebook (search “Free Fares to Freedom”).
For more information and to sign the petition visit http://chng.it/QjJcGNNJMk
Free transport will empower the access-needs community to make incredible contributions to New Zealand.