14 February 2006
A number of noted Australians, including Bill Moss AM, Lindsay Fox AO, and the Hon John Brown AO today announced Australia’s first premium wheelchair-accessible taxi fleet - making it easier for the access-impaired to live and work in Sydney.
The new premium taxi fleet of custom converted Mercedes Vitos is expected to be on the road by Anzac Day this year.
Macquarie Bank Banking and Property Group Head, Bill Moss AM, trucking magnate, Lindsay Fox AO, and the Hon John Brown AO, long time supporter of the disabled have thrown their support behind the venture. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Macquarie Bank.
“This new fleet will help improve the lives of many Sydneysiders who – like myself - have found it difficult to access taxis,” Bill Moss, who has lived with muscular dystrophy for more than 20 years, said.
“There are currently fewer than three wheelchair-accessible taxis for every 1,000 people in Sydney that may want to use them, according to information from the ABS and IPART.”
“This initiative will revolutionize disabled transport providing a sustainable business model for drivers and owners and a new level of service for the whole community.”
“I am pleased to be involved in an initiative that will provide a social benefit – a benefit that, with the support of Macquarie Bank will also be economically sustainable.”
“I congratulate all those involved in this project – I know it means an awful lot to many Australian families,” Mr Moss said.
Mr John Brown, a Board member of the project, described it as both an honour and an opportunity – to be involved and to give something back.
“This is about doing something to improve the lives of many Sydneysiders with disabilities,” Mr Brown said.
“For many, the current shortage of these taxis has made it almost impossible to maintain a regular job.
“You simply can't rely on the existing wheelchair-accessible taxis being available.
"This new service will fill that gap and will make a big difference,” Mr Brown said.
Trucking magnate Lindsay Fox, whose knowledge and support has been critical in solving the deficiencies in current WAT vehicle design, also welcomed the proposal.
“This is good news for the access-impaired and has a worthwhile philanthropic component in that some of the proceeds will go to charities for people with disabilities,” Mr. Fox said
Stephen Albin, Chief Executive of the venture, announced that the fleet is to be named Lime Taxis. “Our plan is to launch with a small number of taxis but by year end the company aims to have 240 wheelchair accessible taxis on Sydney’s roads.” Mr Albin explained.
Patrons with disabilities will be given priority for this service.
In 2005, there were just 288 wheelchair-accessible taxis in Sydney according to the NSW Government’s Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Taskforce.
Mr Albin said “Our intention is to provide a similar service in all capital cities and we would welcome dialogue with Premiers and Transport Ministers who would like to improve the level of service to the disabled in their State or Territory”
Drivers can register their interest at www.limetaxis.com.au
For further information contact
Tel. (61 2) 89696255
Mobile 0414 383 433
Tel. (61 2) 8232 0015
Mobile 0438 448 478