It’s been nearly 30 years since NSW introduced the world’s first wheelchair accessible taxi fleet in celebration of the year of the disabled in 1981.
Since that time not only have wat vehicles changed and the fleet grown, but drivers now receive more comprehensive training and unsurprisingly the average pickup times for passengers are getting faster and faster.
1. VEHICLE IMPROVEMENTS
The WAT vehicles of today are a far cry from the basic earlier models. The design, functionality and comfort of WATs have improved so significantly that they now provide the same level of comfort as the standard fleet.
2. Growth in fleet numbers
From one car to a fleet of 688 across NSW, the fleet has grown to cater for 380,000 people with disability.
3. More comprehensive driver training
Since its beginning, the WAT driver training program has become more extensive, with drivers now required to complete two full days of practical and theoretical education.
Drivers are taught how to correctly load and unload a wheelchair passenger, understand WAT radio procedures, develop customer service skills, understand various types of disabilities and the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme. Drivers also complete a range of theory training exercises in class.
Each driver’s performance is assessed by qualified assessors to determine whether they have achieved the standard required to become a WAT driver.
4. The results
Passenger wait times continue to decrease and are quickly closing on the times achieved by standard fleets.
Zero200 Manager, Paul Bolt said, “With more WAT vehicles on the road and major improvement in pick up times over the years, passengers in wheelchairs are receiving a much better taxi service”.
MORE WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE TAXIS
Dispatch System User Group Meetings
AUGUST 2012 The group meetings were coordinated by the NSW Taxi Council to address three primary concerns by WATS drivers:
1. The same job being offered multiple times.
2. Jobs being offered to WATS nowhere near the vicinity of the job.
3.... READ MORE
New WATS Facts Card for Drivers
AUGUST 2012 WATS drivers are reminded of their duties and responsibilities relating to the carriage, loading/unloading of passengers in wheelchairs and motorised mobility scooters.
The NSW Taxi Council has produced and issued a new WATS FACT... READ MORE