Shortage of taxi drivers in Tasmania has left wheelchair users feeling vulnerable | The Examiner


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Tasmania’s taxi driver shortage has left a woman in a wheelchair stranded in Launceston General Hospital for more than three hours. Louise Smith is an amputee and uses an electric wheelchair, but said a current shortage of maxi taxi drivers has left her virtually housebound. Last month, Ms Smith visited LGH for a medical appointment and pre-booked a trip home to Legana. Ms Smith said when the maxi taxi did not arrive at the agreed time of 2.30pm she had no choice but to keep calling the company and wait on the curb until 5.40pm . READ MORE: Greyhound trainer may have ‘no case to answer’ over welfare complaint Fear of being stranded was something that Ms Smith said had left her increasingly socially isolated. “You can’t go out because you don’t know if you’re going to go home,” she said. Ms Smith said the shortage of taxi drivers was disproportionately affecting wheelchair users, echoed by disability advocate Jane Wardlaw. Ms Wardlaw also uses a wheelchair and said the taxi industry faces problems at the best of times, but the shortage of drivers has exacerbated the problem. READ MORE: Road carnage takes a toll on wildlife volunteers “It’s very hard to find good drivers,” she said. “The shortage is just another blow and people with disabilities, especially wheelchair users, we have no other transport options. We feel like we are being punished even more just because that we use wheelchairs,” Ms Wardlaw said. also had the potential to have a direct impact on his ability to work. READ MORE: Launceston public ‘frustrated’ with organized mask removals ‘If I can’t get transport I can’t go do my job at Newnham on the university campus – it’s a risk,” she said. “So I’m thinking about how I’m going to handle this, if I can’t get a regular taxi to take me to my place of work.” Mel Wilson, managing director of Launceston Maxi Taxis “It was a huge problem, and there was nothing we could do about it,” she said. . “We had vehicles shut down because we just didn’t have any drivers to work the shift. But action has definitely been taken and I see a lot of drivers coming in now.” It’s only a matter of time to get them on the road.” Last month, Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, announced a series of initiatives to tackle the shortage of drivers in Mr Ferguson said the government was working to make it cheaper and easier for people to become taxi drivers, including payments of up to $600 for each new driver to cover the cost of training and permission. What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor:



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