People often underestimate how much people with disabilities rely on public transport. For people like myself who cant drive, public transport is the only other option after waiting for someone to drive you to where you need to go. Accessible taxis are hardly, an option; the price is still too steep, even after the Total Mobility Scheme subsidy. For many people with disabilities who rely on welfare, options are further reduced.
Aucklanders are lucky in this regard. AT’s accessibility concession gives us child prices, so long as their morale can handle the odd driver who is reluctant to help them, but that is a separate matter altogether.
Those in other parts of the country however, do not enjoying that same privilege. Learning disability self-advocacy organisation, People First are currently aiming to provide a discount bus card for people with disabilities in Tauranga. This will be a similar scheme to the Gold Card for the elderly.
This is the type of lobbying that needs to occur across the country. Better yet, I would like to see legislation, much like the Gold Card scheme that ensures commuters with disabilities can gain affordable and reliable public transport.
This is simply a case of improving the quality of life for a group of people who are traditionally expected to be invisible in society. This is an out-dated mentality that has no place in this day and age. In order for us to change this however, we need to make seriously large steps in the direction of fairness, acceptance and inclusion. Easily accessible and affordable transport across the country is one of these crucial steps.