Wheelchair-accessible taxi shortage leaves people stranded, and socially isolated

There were 975 active wheelchair-accessible vehicles (WAVs) registered in Victoria in June 2021, according to the Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria annual report 2020-21.

More than 1 million people in Victoria identify as living with a disability, 17 per cent of whom cannot access public transport such as trains, trams and buses.

Elderly people and those with an injury are also reliant on accessible “maxi taxis”.

And in some regional cities there are none or very few to go around…

Stephen Armstrong, owner of Ballarat Taxis for almost 40 years, said the shortage of drivers caused by COVID-19 border closures was making it difficult to keep taxis on the road.

“We’re in the same boat as most other industries in and around Ballarat, and for that matter, throughout the whole of Victoria, who are struggling to get a workforce at the moment,” Mr Armstrong said.