Minister Kelly announces €1,000,000 Grants scheme for Wheelchair Accessible Taxis (WAVS)
Up to €10,000 Available for new vehicles
Alan Kelly TD, Minister for Public and Commuter Transport, today (June 25) announced details of a new €1 million grant scheme to support the wider availability of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) in Ireland’s taxi fleet. Opening to applicants in early July, the scheme will offer grants, nationwide, of up to €10,000 for the purchase or conversion of a new WAV – and a sliding scale, with lesser monies being available for older cars. Cars older than 6 years will not qualify for grant support under this scheme.
Minister Kelly said: “This is a serious investment on the Government’s part in improving quality mobility options for wheelchair users throughout Ireland. In order to qualify for the grants, drivers must be in good standing with the National Transport Authority; they must provide a tax clearance certificate, be free of upheld prosecutions / complaints for the previous six months, and their vehicle must comply with the required regulatory standards. There will also be rigorous checks put in place to ensure that grant recipients do, in fact, make their cars available to the wheelchair users on whose behalf the cars are being grant-aided.
“There are currently some 860 licenced WAVs operating in Ireland. Assuming an average grant of €5,000 through this scheme – facilitating the addition of a further 200 accessible vehicles – the number of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles will increase by almost a quarter to deliver a total fleet of 1060 cars and we have made the purchase of such taxis significantly more affordable.”
Gerry Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of the National Transport Authority, said: “We recently revised the specification for wheelchair accessible taxis to make them more affordable to buy. This grant scheme will now greatly help those interested in purchasing one of these vehicles and we will put a swift payment scheme in place for all qualifying applicants. We are committed to ensuring that this investment benefits the people for whom it is being put in place – wheelchair users across Ireland. We will monitor all beneficiaries of the grants to confirm that they are available for wheelchair users. ”
Stephen Cluskey, member of the Government’s Taxi Advisory Committee and founder of wheelchairtaxi.ie, assisted the National Transport Authority in developing the policy, said:
“This is a very positive step from the government to addressing the deplorable number of wheelchair accessible taxis throughout the country. Numbers have fallen by more than 40% in the past two years alone and this commitment will go a long way to reversing this trend. By introducing the €1million grant on top of the recent changes to regulations relating to WAV's shows that Minister Kelly and the government are seriously committed to tackling this issue. WAV's should be up to 40% cheaper than before and drivers are now able to switch from a regular licence to a wheelchair taxi licence and back again which they were previously not able to do. This is a great first step and I'm very encouraged by these developments.”
Grants will be available from early July; details for those interested will be provided on the website www.nationaltransport.ie.