The NSW Taxi Council has recently established the Disability Reference Group (DRG) after hearing calls from representatives from the Disability Sector for better engagement and collaboration needed from the Taxi Industry. This was following the Parliamentary Inquiry Hearing, where Disability Representatives provided feedback on their experiences with the Taxi Industry. Furthermore, the recent Parliamentary Inquiry report tabled on the 8th December, 2020, included Recommendation number 13, which states “That the NSW Government develop a point to point transport disability forum with representatives from the Government, the point to point transport industry and the disability sector, to provide a formal forum to discuss and address disability access issues in the industry”. We are pleased that the NSW Taxi Council had already established the Disability Reference Group prior to the report being released.
The DRG comprises of representatives from Disability groups representing people with a disability across NSW and Australia. They include passengers with Physical Disabilities, as well as sensory disabilities including vision and hearing impairment. We also have agencies representing people with mental and intellectual disabilities. The DRG also includes stakeholders from the NSW Taxi Industry across Metropolitan and Regional NSW.
The DRG is an important channel for the Taxi Industry to listen to stakeholders from the Disability Sector, who represent their members. This is an opportunity to understand key issues and look to develop strategies to address and resolve issues moving forward. Ultimately, we want to provide improved services to passengers who look to Taxi services to help them solve their transport needs. For many, these passengers are the more vulnerable people in our society – we must take great care of them.
At present, the meetings are held via zoom due to Covid restrictions. The meetings are held on a quarterly basis, with the last meeting being a workshop that was held. This was an opportunity to document issues and opportunities with the view to prioritise opportunities for focus according to the disability stakeholders.
The group helps foster a more collaborative and consultative relationship between the Taxi Industry and the Disability sector. The long term benefit is that the DRG allows for better planning and focus on addressing the longer term needs of passengers with a disability to ensure continual improvement of passenger services delivered by Taxis – “we want to continue to be the trusted local transport champion helping passengers get to where they need to be, on time, everytime.”