Recent media reports have focused on drivers who refuse to let guide dogs ride in their taxis. In a recent story in ‘The Age’ a driver was reported to have said to a person with a disability,
I don’t do wheelchairs.
If something like this has happened to you, report it to the Taxi Services Commission. The commission was established last year and is the new regulator of the taxi and hire-car industries. You could also consider helping to improve taxi services by becoming a member of the Disabled Persons Taxi Advisory Committee (DPTAC).
What is DPTAC?
DPTAC advises the Taxi Services Commission on the performance of taxi services for people with disabilities. Those services include the Multi-purpose Taxi Program and Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WAT).
What does DPTAC do?
The committee advises on issues such as the time it takes a taxi to arrive and taxi driver training in areas such as WAT. A Taxi Services Commission spokesperson told Divine that one of the achievements of DPTAC was collaborating in the development of an educational and safety video. The video shows how to travel safely in a wheelchair taxi. It can be seen on the Taxi Services Commission website.
Who can be a member of DPTAC?
DPTAC is made up of individuals with disabilities as well as organisations who work with people with disabilities. Committee members should have a good knowledge of the concerns people with disabilities have with using taxis. Members should be able to represent people with all kinds of disabilities, not just their own.
Currently the committee includes a range of organisations and individuals. Organisations represented include Guide Dogs Victoria and Yooralla. There are also organisations outside the disability field like RMIT, The City of Dandenong and the Migrant Resource Centre. The committee has a maximum of 25 members.
How much time does it take?
DPTAC only meets three times a year and each meeting takes about two hours. But some tasks need to be done outside meeting times, like telling people what happened at the meetings and participating in sub-committees. DPTAC membership is for two years.
Where are meetings held?
The meetings are generally held at the Taxi Services Commission in Collins Street Melbourne. According to a spokesperson,
meetings are held in buildings that are fully accessible including accessible toilets and other facilities.
Country committee members
Committee members from the country are welcome. Members currently travel from Swan Hill, Bendigo and other regions. Country members are eligible for reimbursement of travel, accommodation and meal costs incurred when attending meetings.
How to join DPTAC
To join DPTAC an individual or organisation must nominate themselves. Nominations are open until 31 January and a very simple nomination form is available online. Apart from a name and address, the form requires a reason why a person or organisation thinks they would be a good member of the committee.
So if you or your organisation is full of ideas on improving taxi services for people with disabilities nominate now for DPTAC.