Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme under review

Transport for NSW is reviewing the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS), which provides a 50% discount of taxi fares up to the value of $60 for people with limited mobility or vision impairment.

But did they not just do a review of the TTSS, you ask? Yes they did. But that review was looking at the cost. This review is looking at accessibility.

At the moment, TTSS users receive a booklet of dockets in the mail. Users give one of the filled in dockets to the taxi driver and pay the remaining 50% of the fare.

The docket system has caused a couple of problems to date. TTSS users commonly report misplacing the dockets and the gruelling process for getting new dockets sent out. And there's the fact that you have to pay full fare while you wait for the replacement dockets to arrive in the mail.

But the main concern is one of fraud. Some TTSS users have reportedly been asked by taxi drivers to exchange two blank dockets for a free ride, while others report being asked to pay a very different fare from that on the meter. It can be even harder for passengers with a visual impairment, who can't necessarily see the fare meter.

The NSW Government is pushing towards an electronic payment system supported by technology like a smart phone application.

This would cut out the middle 'men', reducing the opportunity for rorting as users would automatically have the half price fare deducted from their bank account or credit card. It would also allow Transport for NSW to extend the TTSS discount to new transport services like Uber.

While these changes could well improve the TTSS for some, there are some major concerns about the impact of these changes for others.

What about those who don't own smart phones? What about those of us who don't like to set up electronic bank deductions because there's no guarantee the money will be there when they take it? Or those of us that have valid concerns about the safety of electronic banking? There is still plenty of room for fraud and scams in an electronic system.

What it really comes down to is choice. Users need to have a choice in how they book and pay for taxis as part of the scheme. For some people an app would be great, while others would welcome the introduction of a card. And for all those welcoming a change, there are others who are happy with the scheme just as it is.

If you use the TTSS, we want to hear your feedback and concerns about the scheme and what could be done to improve it. Call CPSA Head Office on 1800 451 488, Monday to Friday 9am-4pm.

To find out more about eligibility for the scheme and to have the application forms mailed out to you, call the TTSS on 1800 623 724 or vistit the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme website.