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Wheelchair Accessible Taxi requirements

Wheelchair accessible taxis (WATs) must meet a range of important requirements to ensure the safety of passengers. 

It is the responsibility of the taxi operator and the driver to ensure:

  • each vehicle is equipped with the necessary restraint systems to safely secure each wheelchair and its occupant, and
  • all of the equipment is maintained in good working order.

This forms part of the duty of care in the supply of taxi services to people in wheelchairs.

Information on this page

Allocated Floor Space

Each wheelchair position (allocated floor/ceiling space) must be allocated at least 1300mm (length) x 800mm (width) x 1500mm (height) as required by the Commonwealth Government's Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT).

Image of a WAT vehicle with the outline of its allocated floor space for one passenger.                  Image of a WAT vehicle with the outline of its allocated floor space for two passengers.

Wheelchair/Occupant restraint systems 

Each wheelchair position must be fitted with a:

  • wheelchair restraint system, and
  • occupant restraint system (seat belts).

Seat belts

Seat belts must be a:

  • lap and sash emergency locking retractor type, or a
  • lap and harness type assembly.

A lap only seat belt is not a compliant restraint system for people in wheelchairs. 

 Image of woman being restrained in a Wheelchair Accessible Taxi.

Wheelchair restraint system

Wheelchairs must be securely tied down at four (4) points. The number of complete sets of restraints must equal the number of wheelchair positions. For example, a Toyota Hiace with two wheelchair positions must have two sets of four restraints in the vehicle at all times to secure the wheelchairs and occupants.

Wheelchair restraints must be free from fraying, tears and knots.

All restraints fitted must comply with the applicable Australian/New Zealand standards*.  

Hoists and ramps

Hoists

Hoists fitted to WATs must:

  • be securely mounted to the vehicle
  • have a skid resistant loading surface, and
  • have approach edges with an outer roll stop that is effective when the hoist is raised off the ground.

Ramps

Any ramp fitted to a WAT licensed must have a gradient (slope) no steeper than one in six (1 in 6) and a width of no less than 800mm. Any WAT previously approved with a one in four (1 in 4) gradient ramp prior to 28 September 2015 is exempted from this requirement.

Hoists and ramps should be serviced regularly by the manufacturer or its agent to ensure the equipment remains in good working order.

Hoists and ramps must comply with the applicable Australian/New Zealand Standards^.

TSC inspection of Wheelchair Accessible Taxis

The Taxi Services Commission (TSC) continues to inspect WATs to ensure they comply with the standards, and this includes making sure that each WAT has the correct type and number of restraints to match the number of wheelchair positions.   

Failure to comply with the WAT requirements may result in compliance actions against the operator and/or driver.

More information

Enquiries can be directed to the TSC on telephone 1800 638 802 or by email at contact@taxi.vic.gov.au

Alternatively, please refer to the Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Knowledge Handbook:

Knowledge Handbook - WAT

*AS/NZS 10542 Parts 1 & 2 Wheelchair tie down and occupant-restraint systems. Any requirements contained in Australian Standard AS2942 – 1994/Amendment 1-1998 Wheelchair Occupant Restraint Assemblies for Motor Vehicles which are not covered in AS/NZS 10542 Parts 1 & 2 must also be complied with

^AS 3856 - Hoists and Ramps for people with disabilities - Vehicle mounted; Parts 1 & 2.