Hailo, Ireland’s leading transport app, has today, with Minister for Transport Shane Ross, announced a grant scheme aimed at increasing the number of Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) in the taxi fleet.

Minister Shane Ross said:

“We in the Department of Transport are committed to increasing the number of Wheelchair Accessible taxis in Ireland’s fleet, through the National Transport Authority’s 2016 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Grant Scheme. I am delighted to welcome the Hailo Wheelchair Grant Scheme as a valuable supplement to this and I believe it will considerably assist the incentives for new wheelchair taxis – which are much needed as part of our public transport system. We will continue to work closely with Hailo in their efforts to improve the accessibility of the taxi fleet. I encourage taxi owners to avail of all available incentives to assist in increasing the wheelchair-accessible fleet.”

Tim Arnold, General Manager of Hailo in Ireland, said:

“At Hailo, we believe there needs to be a step-change in the number of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis and would be advocating for 500 new vehicles for 2017. Along with the supports from the Department of Transport and the National Transport Authority we are prepared to commit €500,000 to increase the number of wheelchair accessible taxis by 500 by the end of next year. This would be good for passengers, for the national fleet and for the taxi industry. The number of WAVs at the end of 2015 was 36% fewer than in the year 2008 according to recent NTA data and represents just 5% of the overall taxi fleet. More than a third of wheelchair accessible vehicles are on the road for over 10 years. We strongly support the National Transport Authority’s objective of making 10% of the fleet wheelchair accessible by 2020 and making taxi services a better experience for wheelchair users.”

The Hailo initiative seeks to help modernise Ireland’s taxi fleet and to increase the number of WAVs by 500 over 2016 and 2017, with Hailo committing to offering €500,000 to support this objective.

The National Transport Authority’s 2016 Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Grant Scheme offers financial grant and training assistance, nationwide, for the purchase or conversion of a new Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. The Hailo Wheelchair Grant Scheme seeks to make it more attractive for drivers to get new wheelchair accessible vehicles, by offering €1000 credit for taxi commission for the driver’s future Hailo work. This will apply to each of 500 extra Wheelchair Accessible Cars registered. Additionally, once wheelchair accessibility is available in a taxi, Hailo will no longer charge a commission to any drivers who take passengers availing of this wheelchair-accessible facility.

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