Ac­ces­si­bil­ity con­ces­sion voted through

Waikato News - - HEALTH / NEWS -

Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil voted on Tues­day to in­tro­duce an ac­ces­si­bil­ity con­ces­sion, pro­vid­ing ap­proved peo­ple with free travel on bus ser­vices.

The de­ci­sion by the strat­egy and pol­icy com­mit­tee — ap­plauded by an au­di­ence of peo­ple rep­re­sent­ing the dis­abil­ity com­mu­nity — will go to the full meet­ing of coun­cil on De­cem­ber 12 for fi­nal ap­proval.

Waikato will be the first re­gion in New Zealand to pro­vide a 100 per cent ac­ces­si­bil­ity con­ces­sion, which will come into ef­fect from mid2019 when the new bus tick­et­ing sys­tem is im­ple­mented.

The cost of the con­ces­sion will be co-funded by the NZ Trans­port Agency and ratepay­ers, and it is es­ti­mated it will cost the coun­cil up to $75,000 a year.

Dur­ing the meet­ing coun­cil­lors also en­dorsed an el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria for the con­ces­sion, which will be avail­able to any per­son of any age if it can be demon­strated they have a phys­i­cal, in­tel­lec­tual, psy­cho­log­i­cal, sen­sory or neu­ro­log­i­cal im­pair­ment that pre­vents them from be­ing legally able to drive a pri­vate mo­tor ve­hi­cle or is such that they will be un­able to drive once of a le­gal driv­ing age. It will be avail­able to those that have a tem­po­rary or per­ma­nent im­pair­ment that re­sults in a trans­port dis­abil­ity.

A tem­po­rary im­pair­ment means a per­son will be un­able to drive for a pe­riod of six months or more but is ex­pected to re­cover from the im­pair­ment.

Also this week, the re­gional coun­cil agreed to ex­tend the Or­biter ser­vice to in­clude the Hamil­ton Gar­dens on week­ends this sum­mer. Both clock­wise and an­ti­clock­wise Or­biter buses will travel into the bus stop in Gate One of the gar­dens around every 20 min­utes on week­ends and pub­lic hol­i­days through to April 7 2019. Dur­ing this pe­riod, Or­biter ser­vices will also run later on Satur­day and Sun­day evenings.

“We’ve timed the last bus for food­ies at­tend­ing Gourmet in the Gar­dens, leav­ing in the half hour after its 8pm fin­ish time,” coun­cil pub­lic op­er­a­tions man­ager. An­drew Wil­son said.

“We en­cour­age peo­ple to use this ser­vice which takes the has­sle out of find­ing a carpark dur­ing busy days,” Hamil­ton Gar­dens busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager Tamsin Webb said.

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