It’s important to get out and about in your community. Having access to transport means you can get to work or study, meet with friends, go shopping or visit the library. It also means you can see your doctor or other healthcare providers when you need to.
If you are finding it hard to cover the costs of transport, here are some places you can get help.
National Travel Assistance
If you have to travel away from home for treatment, you may be able to claim the cost of your transport from Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand. They may cover the cost of your accommodation as well.
If you have a long-term disability and you need modifications to a vehicle so you can move around the community, Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People may be able to help. In a small number of cases, they may also be able to help you buy a car to be modified.
You can apply for the Disability Allowance from Work and Income to cover your transport costs. You may have to provide evidence of your costs to receive the allowance.
Total Mobility scheme
If you are unable to travel safely on public transport, you may be eligible for subsidised taxi services. The Total Mobility scheme issues vouchers or an electronic card that allows the holder to receive a 50 percent discount on normal taxi, or other specialist transport provider, fares (up to a maximum fare set by your local Total Mobility operator).
Total Mobility may be available if a person’s disability prevents them from undertaking any one or more of the following parts of an unaccompanied journey by public transport in a safe and dignified manner:
- Get to the place where the transport departs
- Get on to the transport
- Ride securely
- Get off the transport
- Get to the final destination
Read the user guide to Total Mobility at the New Zealand Transport Agency website for more information about how Total Mobility works. The user guide includes contact information for the Total Mobility operator and participating taxi companies in each region.
Check out this story about Barbara Tane from Life Unlimited (now known as Your Way | Kia Roha) who assesses people living in Hamilton city for eligibility to Total Mobility.
Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)
If your disability was caused by an accident then you might be able to get help with your transport needs from ACC.
Lottery Grants are available to people with mobility or communication related disabilities. Grants can be used to buy a vehicle or mobility scooter, or to modify a vehicle to meet your needs. You can find out more about Lottery Grants at the Community Matters website.
If you are having trouble getting to your medical appointments, here are some organisations that may be able to help.
St John Health Shuttle is a free community service that transports people to essential medical and health-related appointments, and then brings them home again. The health shuttle is not available in all areas.
The Blind Foundation has volunteer drivers in many areas of the country to help people get to important eye clinics or Blind Foundation appointments.
Red Cross has volunteer drivers to help people all around New Zealand who, for medical, mobility or financial reasons, find it difficult to get to appointments.