Free taxi scheme runs until June 30

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Service with a smile . . . Driving Miss Daisy Dunedin North franchise owner Kerri Bolt (right) drops customer Anne Marie Parsons at the Otago Museum after a free ride under a scheme related to the Covid-19 pandemic. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Dunedin woman Anne Marie Parsons wants all Total Mobility card-holders to know they can get free taxi rides until the end of June.

“I don’t think it has been very well publicised, and I want to make sure that people know about it,” Ms Parsons said.

“There are only a couple of weeks left for people to take advantage of it them to get out and about.”

In mid-April, it was announced that the Total Mobility scheme would be free for eligible users until June 30, up to the regional subsidy cap of $50.

The move came about as part of the overall response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to ensure transport options for people with mobility issues during Alert Level 4 and 3 lockdown.

Mrs Parsons was grateful to have been able to use Driving Miss Daisy to travel to Green Park cemetery recently to visit the grave of her late husband, Richard Skinner.

“It was a lovely trip and so nice to be able to get out there to see him,” she said.

On Tuesday, she used the service again to meet The Star at Otago Museum and attend a meeting.

Driving Miss Daisy Dunedin North franchise co-owner Kerri Bolt said the free service had become increasingly popular as more Total Mobility card-holders became aware of it.

“We have been doing our best to get the word out there make sure to mention it when people call for a ride,” she said.

Initiated in the early 1980s, the Total Mobility scheme is provided throughout New Zealand.

In Dunedin and Otago, the scheme is funded by Otago Regional Council and Waka Kotahi-NZ Transport Agency.

They work with 15 supporting agencies across the region to provide the subsidy scheme, which usually covers 50% of a taxi ride up to a cap of $25.

A range of Dunedin taxi companies and transport services are involved in the scheme, including Eco-Friendly Taxis Dunedin & Airport Shuttles Dunedin, Mainland Cabs Dunedin, Corporate Cabs Dunedin, Driving Miss Daisy Dunedin North and Dunedin South, Dunedin Taxis, Grab a Cab Dunedin, and Mobility Vehicles Dunedin.