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    With Wheelchair-Accessible Taxis (WATs) Providing Multiple Services, Ratio of Taxi Ridership by the Physically Challenged Hits a Record High Print
    • Publishing Date:2018-04-19~2018-08-02
    • Update Time:2018-04-09 11:20
    • Clickthrough Rate:27

    [Kaohsiung News] To protect the right-of-way for the physically challenged, the Kaohsiung City Government provides partial subsidies for physically challenged persons travelling with a registered iPass card for persons with disabilities (Disabled Card). As the program continues to gain popularity among physically challenged persons, the number of rides using a registered Disabled Card has increased by five times. Physically challenged passengers have taken taxi for 12,000 trips per month and the ratio of physically challenged ridership has reached a record high of 71%, surpassing the numbers of other cities in Taiwan. Chen Ching-Fu, the director-general of Kaohsiung City’s Transportation Bureau, stated that, currently there are 146 barrier-free taxis providing services in Kaohsiung City and the Bureau intends to increase the number to 294 in 2018.
    The Kaohsiung barrier-free taxis not only protect the right-of-way of physically challenged persons but also provide them diversified services, including transport services for shopping, business commutes and general commutes. Starting from January 1, 2016, passengers who travel with a registered Disabled Card are offered a NT$36 subsidy for fares under NT$100, a NT$54 subsidy for fares between NT$101-200, and a NT$ 72 subsidy for fares higher than NT$201. The fare subsidy program provides persons with disabilities with barrier-free transport services for going to hospital or travelling, which demonstrates the City’s consideration for physically challenged persons and its determination to take care of them.
    WATs of Kaohsiung City are now operated by eight taxi companies, including Kaisyuan M-Taxi, Taiwan Taxi, Jhong Hua Satellite Taxi Fleet, Crown Taxi, Lun Yong Taxi, Sia Wei Yi Taxi, Cheng Cing Lake Taxi, and Sin Sing Siang Taxi, which could greatly solve the problem of failures to respond to calls due to a lack of available taxis. The Bureau will continue to encourage and assist taxi operators and taxi drivers to provide such services so as to create a friendly and barrier-free city.
    Chen stated that in Kaohsiung City there are also 44 multifunctional WATs which started to operate in December 2016. The color of these taxis is not limited to yellow, and the taxis have a securement space to accommodate a wheelchair to provide customized transport services for the physically challenged and wheelchair passengers. WATs operate mainly on a reservation basis, and are equipped with an iPass card reader by which physically challenged passengers can utilize and benefit from the fare subsidy. Passengers with such needs are welcome to book a taxi in advance and make good use of the service.
    Mr. Chen, who is physically challenged, said, “I can take the wheelchair-accessible taxi to go to hospital, do leisure activities, and travel. I can also receive a subsidy for the physically challenged. It is really convenient!” The WAT operators accept and respond to calls for reservations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Bureau encourages physically challenged persons to go outdoors on the weekend as well as weekdays and fully experience a “barrier-free trip”. In addition to expanding the operation scale, the WAT operators are also extending the scope of long-term care services. The operators are actively organizing plans to collaborate with dialysis centers and nursing homes to transport the physically challenged; meanwhile, the operators are also assisting the taxi drivers in taking home nursing care training, providing comprehensive long-term care services.
    The Bureau has designated the first-ever “designated parking spaces for WATs and rehabilitation buses” inside 10 major hospitals or on the street in front of the hospital entrances. 25 parking spaces have been allocated at 18 places to provide persons with disabilities with better transport services to hospitals. Parking spaces in places like Kaohsiung International Airport, Kaohsiung Train Station, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, megastores, and theaters will be allocated to facilitate comprehensive transport services for the physically challenged. 
    To request a taxi, please contact the service hotlines of the following taxi operators: Kaisyuan M-Taxi (07-7241111); Taiwan Taxi (55688 by mobile phone, 07-40588888 by landline telephone); Jhong Hua Satellite Taxi Fleet (07-7258777); Crown Taxi (5510 by mobile phone, 07-4128333 by landline telephone); Lun Yong Taxi (07-3708888); Sia Wei Yi Taxi (07-5555555); and Cheng Cing Lake Taxi (07-7772222). The Bureau will continue to strive for more WAT-related subsidies to serve physically challenged persons in Kaohsiung City.
    If anyone encounters any problems with a taxi, such as overcharging or bad service, they can write down the vehicle registration number on the license plate and other related information—such as time, date and location—to file a complaint with the Transportation Bureau of Kaohsiung City (complaint hotline 07-2226816). If the competent authority verifies that the information is true, fines will be imposed according to the Highway Act.
    For more information, please contact Su Chun-Chin, the division chief of the Transportation Supervision Division, at 0963-111-811.