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Ticket to ride... EziCabs owner Alison Knowler has the contract to provide transport for Total Mobility clients throughout Southland.PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

The Total Mobility service will continue for Gore residents, but with a new system beginning on July 1.

The service will be delivered by a new provider and will use personalised ID cards.

The Ridewise swipe card system is being introduced throughout Southland, bringing the province into line with many other parts of New Zealand where the scheme is available.

Total Mobility clients will use the card in much the same way as the old sticker system. However, they will need to ensure the taxi driver swipes their card at the beginning of the trip.

Total Mobility travel in Gore will be provided by EziCabs, an existing scheme provider in Invercargill.

EziCabs does not have a wheelchair accessible van or hoist.

However, it is hoped a solution to provide subsidised travel for those needing a wheelchair hoist will be found in the near future.

In the interim, anyone requiring this service is advised to contact Invercargill City Council roading manager Russell Pearson.

Gore District Council transport manager Peter Standring said the swipe cards were more efficient and cost effective than the stickers.

The cards would be valid for about five years.

“The stickers involved a lot of administration as they had to be reprinted and posted to clients annually, and were often lost or misplaced,” Mr Standring said.

“Personalised ID cards mean the driver can validate that the user is an approved client,” he said.

There are about 300 Total Mobility clients in Gore.

The Invercargill City Council, which administers the scheme Southland-wide, has written to all active clients and will be sending out ID cards.

All clients need to provide a photo.

Any Gore residents wanting help with a photo can call into the council’s main office.

“Our staff are happy to help take a photo and send it to Invercargill,” Mr Standring said.

Acknowledging there had been some uncertainty about the future of the scheme, Mr Standring said the council was pleased the service would still be available to Gore residents.

“We wanted to ensure continuity of an affordable service and worked hard with the existing provider Gore Taxis.”

“However, when they decided not to continue with the service, we approached potential new operators.”

Mr Standring urged scheme users to make sure they got a new Ridewise swipe card as soon as possible.

Ridewise cards give users access to subsidised travel with approved operators throughout the country, including in Dunedin.

Apart from the new cards, the service will remain the same for most users with a 50% subsidy on travel up to $50.

There is no limit on how many times it can be used.

The person travelling still needs to pay for the remaining 50% of travel costs at the end of the journey.

Gore Taxis owner Stewart Anderson, of Invercargill, ran the Total Mobility Scheme in the town for more than eight years.

But when the new system was brought in it would have cost too much for the business to implement, Mr Anderson said.

However, Gore Taxis would still run its normal taxi service in the town.

EziCabs owner Alison Knowler said the company was approached by the council to run the Gore operation.

The new system, Ridewise, works by using eftpos machines and the new system is now available throughout New Zealand, Mrs Knowler said.

The company would initially send a driver from Invercargill to carry out the work until Gore drivers were appointed.