Taking a ride . . . Gore resident Lola Stewart, who uses Gore Taxis every week, is helped out of a taxi by lessee Mike Tait. Mrs Stewart was a Total Mobility Scheme user. PHOTO: MARGARET PHILLIPS

But hope service may resume

The newly appointed Total Mobility taxi service provider in Gore has pulled out only a few weeks after taking on the service.

The Total Mobility Scheme, which has operated in Gore since the 1990s, provides subsidised taxi fares to those who would otherwise be unable to live independently.

Taxi company EziCabs has stopped providing the service in Gore.

It had taken over from Gore Taxis, the long-standing provider of the service, early last month.

Gore Mayor Tracy Hicks said his council and the Invercargill City Council had worked hard to ensure another operator was available in Gore to ensure continuity of service after Gore Taxis.

“That operator [EziCabs] has now left town due to the lack of business it received,” Mr Hicks said.

EziCabs declined to comment.

“It is disappointing that, despite significant effort, it has got to this stage and that now the Gore residents are missing out,” Mr Hicks said.

However, Gore Taxis had said it intended to resume offering a Total Mobility service in the near future but this could not happen until the business had taken the required steps, Mr Hicks said.

In May, Gore Taxis lessee Mike Tait said the initial set-up for apps needed to operate the new photo identification electronic smart card system would mean a considerable cost for the company and it was unwilling at that time to spend that amount.

Among reasons Gore Taxis was reluctant to take on the new system was that Gore was hilly and the technology had a tendency to lose reception.

The company did not have technical support for the system in the town, Mr Tait said.

Since officially ceasing to provide the service, Gore Taxis had kept transporting “loyal” Total Mobility customers, because they chose to keep using the service, Mr Tait said.

He paid tribute to his loyal customers.

Gore Taxis had also retained the wheelchair transportation part of the business, as EziCabs was unable to provide that service, Mr Tait said.

Gore Taxis was now willing to install the necessary equipment, including an eftpos machine and software.

But ultimately customers would pay for the new equipment through fares, he said.

Bupa Windsor Park Care Home diversional therapist Karen Bray said the loss of the taxi service was discussed at a rest-home residents’ meeting.

Like many rest-homes, Windsor Park had residents who used the service regularly and they relied on the discount.

“Having to pay full price is a huge amount for these guys,” Mrs Bray said.

Total Mobility Scheme

  • Scheme clients pay half of the cost of the metered fare, with the remainder covered by NZTA (30%) and the relevant territorial authority (20%).
  • Gore District Council pays 20% of the fare for client trips which originate in the Gore district.
  • The Total Mobility Scheme for Southland is administered by the Invercargill City Council, as the majority of clients and operators are based in its jurisdiction.
  • The Invercargill City Council passes on the Gore district specific fare component and a related percentage of the administration costs to the Gore District Council.
  • The cost of Total Mobility to the Gore District Council in the 2016-17 financial year was about $18,500.

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