What is the Total Mobility Scheme?
How do I know if I can use the Scheme?
The Total Mobility Scheme provides a subsidised taxi service to eligible people with mobility constraints which prevent them from easily using public transport.
The Scheme is organised by the Ministry of Transport and participating Regional Councils to enable people to take an active part in their community. In some places, such as Nelson, the scheme is co-run between the City and District Councils.
How does it work?
People who can use the Scheme receive either a photo ID card and some taxi vouchers, or an electronic photo ID card (in Auckland and Wellington), which they can use to get up to 50% discount off the normal taxi fare when travelling with a participating taxi company. In some areas there is also funding for the installation of wheelchair hoists in taxi vans, so they can transport people in wheelchairs.
The Scheme is free, but the agency that assesses you may charge a small fee if you are not one of their members. If you are assessed by your doctor, they will charge you their usual consultation fee. Some assessors will also charge a small fee for the photo ID card.
If you cannot readily access public transport due to the nature of an ongoing impairment, you may be eligible for the Total Mobility Scheme. You will need to be assessed by an approved agency according to the criteria set by your Regional Council. In most regions you will only be eligible if you are unable to undertake any or all of the following in a safe and dignified manner:
- Getting to the place from where the transport departs (assumed to be approximately 500m)
- Getting onto the transport
- Riding securely
- Getting off the transport
- Getting to the final destination point (assumed to be approximately 500m)
In some regions you will only be covered if your disability is permanent, but the Scheme in most regions will cover temporary disabilities – such as impairment resulting from a stroke – as long as the impairment will last a minimum of six months. In most areas, the Scheme covers physical, psychiatric, cognitive, and intellectual impairment.
It must be your impairment, not any issues with the availability of local transport, that prevents you from properly accessing public transport.
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How will I be assessed to see if I am eligible?
I live in a rural area not serviced by public transport and have impaired mobility. Am I eligible for the Total Mobility Scheme?
While each Regional Council sets its own criteria, most require your mobility to be assessed by an independent assessor. The assessor needs to be registered as an independent assessor with the Regional Council. Depending on the region, this assessment may be carried out by your doctor or an agency which supports people with impaired mobility (such as Age Concern or the Stroke Foundation).
Look at our Related Links (on the right) or visit your nearest CAB, to find Total Mobility Scheme information including how you would need to be assessed and by whom.
Some Councils apply the Scheme in rural areas - adapting the eligibility criteria to a rural setting - and some do not. Contact your local Regional Council to find out if you are covered by the Scheme, or use the links in our related links section on this page to look at the Total Mobility page on your local Council’s website.
I was assessed and told that I am not eligible. Can I appeal the decision?
You can contact the regional council and ask for the decision to be reconsidered. Their decision is final.
I have epilepsy, which means my impairment is recurrent but I don’t have it all the time. Am I still eligible?
You should be eligible according to recommendations from the Ministry of Transport for Regional Councils. The Guidelines they have provided to Councils
say that, as long as your impairment meets the eligibility criteria for the Scheme, you are eligible even if your impairment comes and goes in severity. Check with your Regional Council to be sure.
Does the Scheme also cover my carer?
Your carer is able to accompany you and your vouchers will cover her/ him. But your carer cannot access the Scheme without you, even if they are running errands for you or undertaking an activity on your behalf.
How do I find out about the Total Mobility Scheme in my area?
Can I use my vouchers in another town when I go on holiday?
In some regions you can make arrangements for vouchers to be endorsed so that you can use them in other areas of New Zealand. Contact your local Regional Council to find out if they do this. You may have to allow at least seven days for the Council to endorse your vouchers for use in other areas. Regional Councils differ in whether vouchers can be used outside the urban area and what rules apply.
I am finding taxi drivers not always helpful when I call them to take me somewhere, even though they are signed up under the Scheme. Who can I follow this up with?
If you experience problems with the Scheme, you can contact the scheme administrator at your local Regional Council. If you have questions about the way the Scheme is applied in your area, you can contact your Regional Council or, of course, your local Citizens Advice Bureau. Here is a copy of the guide to implementing the scheme that the Ministry of Transport has prepared for Regional Councils.
Look at our Related Links on this page to find a helpful list of links to the Total Mobility Scheme in most New Zealand provinces. Not all regions are listed so, if your own region is not there, you can: