Study to Seek Affordable Transport Model For People With Disability
1 November 2018 at 8:25 am
Making it easier for people with disability to travel will be the focus of new research into the transport challenges posed by the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
Leading West Australian disability service providers Rocky Bay, Ability Centre and Nulsen received $75,000 from the WA Disability Sector Transition Funds to undertake research into sustainable transport models for NDIS participants.
The introduction of the NDIS has meant providers no longer receive government subsidies to maintain a fleet of vehicles.
Many providers were now considering charging a per-kilometre fee, which may not be covered by their NDIS plans.
Rocky Bay’s director of strategy, Trevis Lawton, told Pro Bono News that providers recognised the difficulties posed by transport, and were determined to find ways to make it easier for people with disability to travel.
“We will be hiring a transport planning consultant to provide us with some sustainable models of providing effective transport for people with disabilities,” Lawton said.
“It could be ridesharing, it could be taxi services, it could be a bus service. We will consider all possibilities.”
Rocky Bay CEO Michael Tait said the providing sustainable, safe and appropriate transport options for people with disability under the NDIS had so far proved challenging.
“Our clientele are often severely restricted in accessing public transport due to their high levels of disability complexity and require capital intensive modified vans, and our transport options must put their needs first,” Tait said
“Through this research, our aim is to provide long-term benefits to all disability service providers and people living with disabilities… by identifying a sustainable method of delivering transport services within the sector under the new NDIS funding arrangements.”
The current NDIS transport funding model is focused on a Monday to Friday daytime timetable in order to be sustainable for clients, reducing the hours of service available to people with disability.
Tait said providers needed to be able to deliver services to vulnerable people who otherwise found it difficult to move outside their homes when and where they wanted to.
“A [successful transport model] would also reduce isolation and prevent some existing services from being discontinued into the future due to unsustainability,” he said.
“The research will form the bedrock of a larger initiative, ensuring that any future investment in disability transport is undertaken on the basis of having a well-considered and workable model.”
While the model would be focused on the Perth metropolitan area, Lawton said he hoped it would also be transferable to any major city in Australia.
But, he said, funding was limited. If this meant no workable model could be found, Lawton said the providers would go to the National Disability Insurance Agency and work with them to find a solution.
“The [NDIA] genuinely want to provide a workable solution in whatever area, not just transport,” he said.
“So I believe if we say ‘we have a problem here’ then they will engage with us and work to provide a solution.”
Findings from the research are expected by the end of March 2019.