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Transport Services & Vehicle Hire

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Introduction

Suitable and affordable accessible transport for persons of all disabilities remains a challenge and is one of the largest barriers to their independence. Much of the Public Transport that is available to the general public is not always accessible to wheelchair users, while as many persons with Visual Impairments require extra assistance, which is not always available. Government projects often include introducing services to specific Cities or Provinces, these services cater & are accessible for all persons with disabilities.

There are many rural areas in South Africa which do not have public transport, let alone accessible transport. These areas are largely reliant on the taxi industry which also carries challenges for persons with disabilities. There are however private companies who specialize in the transport of persons with disabilities in South Africa. Some companies & organizations also rent out accessible or adapted vehicles.

In this article, we will highlight some of these services that are available for persons with disabilities in specific areas & explain how you would go about using these services.

Public Transport

Persons with disabilities who use wheelchairs and rely on Public Transport often battle to  get around. There are however projects in place in certain areas, to improve Public Transport & make it more accessible to all personsMetrobus with disabilities. Public Transport includes transport services such as: Buses, Trains & Taxis.

Buses

The City of Johannesburg's Metrobus Service offers a specialized transport service which is dedicated to persons with disabilities on designated routes, with 6 buses which are equipped with a hydraulic chair lift. This is a subsidized service and the passengers pay a monthly fee.

Special stickers are displayed at the front of the bus to notify commuters. The buses also have ramps that align with the pavement to make wheelchair access easy. They also have dedicated wheelchair spaces complete with seat belts that lock the wheelchairs to the floor.

There are 9 double decker buses which have ramps that align to the pavement to make wheelchair access easy. These buses have been integrated into the normal daily scheduled service. A special prepaid tag system is also available for persons with disabilities.

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Rea Vaya Bus Service: Phase 1 of the bus system was introduced to assist with the daily transport of workers from Soweto to Johannesburg and around the city. The intermodal hub at park station links Rea Vaya, Metro rail and Gautrain services. The City of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya bus system route has been operational since October 2013.

The new route runs from Soweto and passes through Noordegesig, New Canada, Pennyville , Bosmont, Coronationville, Newclare, Westbury, Westdene, Melville, Auckland Park and Parktown, and it links to the CBD. The new services uses 134 new buses, which have also been manufactured locally.

Auto-Mobility Public Transport: ....

In KwaZulu-Natal, the provincial education department bought 58 new buses worth R55 million to transport Deaf and Intellectually Impaired children.

The department bought the buses because it was difficult for learners with special needs to take public transport to school. Seventeen of the 58 buses were handed to schools around Durban in November last year.

For more information, call the Department of Transport Call Centre: 012 309-3657, or the National Council for Persons with Physical Disabilities in South Africa: 011 726-8040, or call 1020

MyCiTi

MyCiTi is designed to ensure that all special needs passengers can use the service. This includes persons with disabilities, the elderly, young children, pregnant women, passengers traveling alone at night, and passengers with luggage including suitcases, surfboards, prams and bicycles.

MyCiTi’s universal access facilities include:

  • Tactile paving to help the visually impaired locate stations and platforms: Read More: ....
  • Induction loops at ticket kiosks for the hearing impaired.
  • CCTV cameras, which are monitored by a control centre, on buses and at stations.
  • Boarding bridges on buses serving residential and central city routes, which provide passengers with level access onto the buses from bus stops if required.

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GO GEORGE

The George Integrated Public Transport Network (GIPTN) is a project aimed at launching a new and improved public transport system for George and surrounding areas.Go George

GO GEORGE is operated by the public transport operators with existing services in the George area. The first trial phase was launched on the 8th of December 2014, with routes rolling out in phases over the following months.

The aim is to provide a quality public transport service that is reliable, affordable, safe, convenient and accessible, and contributes to a better quality of life for all.

The GO GEORGE system has been designed to ensure that it is as accessible as possible for passengers with a wide variety of needs. This is in line with national policy for new South African public transport systems, such as GO GEORGE.

On most routes, sidewalks at bus stops are raised to reduce the height between the sidewalk and the bus-floor boarding platforms. This provides easy entry for persons in wheelchairs, people with prams, young children and the elderly.

Tactile paving, which is raised, is used at the stops to make it easier for persons with visually impairments so that they can identify the bus stop area. Guide dogs and special assistive animals will be permitted on the buses, but no other animals.

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Trains

You can give National Rail train companies advance notice if you think you’ll need any help from staff. You can also check if a station has accessible facilities.

Wheelchairs On Trains: On mainline (intercity, suburban and cross-country) trains, there is space for your wheelchair. Put your chair in this space and use the brakes (or switch your wheelchair’s power off) when the train’s moving.

Your Rights: Your right to travel by train is protected by the train company’s Disabled People’s Protection Policy (DPPP). Each train company must produce a DPPP and you can get a copy from the company. The DPPP explains how the train company can help passengers with disabilities to use their stations and trains.

Disabled Person’s Railcard: If you’re eligible you can get up to a third off on rail tickets by applying for a disabled person’s railcard. You must provide evidence of a relevant disability.

Unfortunately there are still many train stations in many cities that are inaccessible for persons with disabilities, especially persons with Mobility Impairments who use wheelchairs. A recent article revealed how inaccessible many of train stations in Cape Town are.

"Broken Lifts And Stairs For Commuters With Wheelchairs: Long wait before Cape Town’s train stations will provide access for people with disabilities."

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Gautraingautrain

The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link's stations are fully accessible and every second train and feeder bus has special access for passengers with disabilities. The Gautrain is for everyone and is suitable for people with special needs. All station environments, as well as the trains and buses, are specifically designed to provide easy access for the mobility impaired and to accommodate sight- and hearing impaired passengers. Non-slip surfaces, handrails and handholds aid people with difficulties in walking, gripping, reaching or balancing.

The blind and partially sighted are assisted by the following:

  • The consistent use of colour contrasts, clear signage, good lighting and non-reflective surfaces.
  • Audible as well as visual service announcements.
  • Tactile and audible guidance and warning surfaces and systems, where appropriate.

The deaf or hard of hearing are assisted by the following:

  • Visual as well as audible announcements.
  • Induction loops (earphone jacks) at ticket vending machines.
  • Clear signage

The rail network is 80 kilometers long and is connected to other forms of public transport like taxis, buses and the Metrorail public train system. Commuters can also use several Gautrain buses to destinations within a 15 kilometers radius. The Gautrain is in the Gauteng province, South Africa, which links Johannesburg, Pretoria, Ekurhuleni and OR international airport. Traveling at up to 160 kilometers per hour, the Gautrain takes 35 minutes to travel between Johannesburg and Pretoria. From Sandton to the OR Tambo International Airport, it takes 15 minutes and provision has been made for air passengers to remotely check in at Sandton Station in future.

Main Station: Johannesburg Park Station, OR International Airport, Pretoria station.

Other Station: Centurion, Hatfield, Molbaro, Midrant, Rhodesfield, Rosebank and Sandton.

Route Map: It covers Hatfield, Pretoria, Centurion, Midrand, OR international airport, Rhodesfield, Marboro, Sandton, Rosebank and Park station.

Fares: Fares on the Johannesburg/Pretoria route are between R21.00 and R53.00, depending on the distance. Fares on the Gautrain Bus Link is R6.00 (R20.00 if the train is not used within one hour of the bus journey). The method of payment on Gautrain buses uses the same personalized electronic ticket as for train travel, requiring a minimum balance of R20.00 for boarding a bus.

How To Use The System

The Gautrain’s train, bus and parking services are all fully integrated and may be used separately or jointly by transferring from one to another. These services are all accessed by means of a contactless smart card: Your Gautrain Gold Card.

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Taxis

The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) and council members in the nine provinces are working with municipalities and transport authorities to make taxis accessible to persons with disabilities.

Several taxi associations in different provinces have already introduced vehicles specially adapted for persons with disabilities. New taxis will be built in such a way that people who use wheelchairs can easily get in and out. All new taxis that have been specially adapted to accommodate wheelchairs, must have clear signs that say they are certified to carry wheelchair users.

Unfortunately there are still many Taxi services in South Africa that are not accessible for many persons with disabilities, some that are accessible, are not necessarily accessible to all persons with disabilities. Below are a couple of other Taxi Services that cater for persons with disabilities.

UberASSISTUberAssist

UberASSIST has been designed to provide additional assistance for senior passengers and passengers with access needs. Driver-partners are specifically trained to assist passengers when getting in and out of vehicles and can accommodate folding wheelchairs, walkers and service animals, as well as motorized wheelchairs in certain cities.

"UberASSIST is available in Joburg and Cape Town and is specifically aimed at those with access needs, we urge you to respect others by only using UberASSIST if applicable to you. We’d like to ensure those who need to get an UberASSIST ride can always do so."

How To Access UberASSIST In Cape Town?

How To Access UberASSIST In Johannesburg?

Rolling Rehab: Uber - Read More: ...

uberWAV - Affordable rides in wheelchair-accessible vehicles: Persons who use motorized wheelchairs or scooters can in certain request a ride in a wheelchair-accessible vehicle in certain cities. uberWAV driver-partners are certified by a third party in safely driving and assisting people with disabilities.

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Rikkis Taxis

Rikkis taxis are fully wheelchair accessible, so that persons with disabilities can also get around Cape Town easily and freely. Rikkis have a handful of London cabs which are equipped with ramps for wheelchair access. When booking, simply let the call centre agent know that you require this service. They will dispatch one of their vehicles right to your door. The driver will then position a manual ramp and safely guide you into the taxi, ensuring that you are secure and comfortable before departing on the journey.

To book a wheelchair accessibility Rikkis taxi, phone 021 447 4444 or Email: bookings@sport24hrs.co.za

Government Subsidized Transport

Government Subsidized Transport is available in order to make it cheaper for persons with disabilities to travel. The Dial-A-Ride service is heavily subsidized, it is therefore important that it remains focused on providing transport for those who require it: This includes persons with physically disabilities who need to commute between home and work, who cannot board and use public transport due to their disability, and who have no other means of transport.

It is an important service because it allows persons with physical disabilities to use public transport to access economic opportunities and is intended to ensure that they are still able to work.

Dial-A-RideDial-A-Ride

The Dial-A-Ride service collects and drops off persons with disabilities from their homes, thus providing a service, so that persons with disabilities will have equal opportunities. The service gives them a chance to travel to work, schools and other facilities. The service is part of the City’s goal to create an environment where passengers have confidence in the public transport system. The wheelchair friendly buses have been made available to accommodate persons with disabilities, their assistance and also their guide dogs.

Fares are based on the distance traveled and compare favorably with other modes of public transport. The Dial-A-Ride bus service is reasonably priced, with a fare of R2 a kilometer with average trip costing R10 to R14, depending on the distance travelled. The buses operate on weekdays from 05:30 to 19:30 and on weekends from 06:00 to 19:00.

For convenience, commuters can make telephonic bookings on a first-come-first serve basis. The Dial-a-Ride service requires you to pre-register as a commuter for their kerb-to-kerb service, commuters need to book 7 days in advance. Download and submit the application form, after which reservations can be made via the call centre (from within SA) on: 0800 656 463.

This service is available in Cape Town & Durban and is intended to be a temporary, limited public transport service that will serve as a bridging measure until all public transport becomes universally accessible.

Durban: Application For The Dial-A-Ride Public Transport Service

Cape Town: Application For The Dial-A-Ride Public Transport Service

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TDA Contact Centre

The City of Cape Town’s TDA Contact Centre is a 24 hour, seven-day-a-week call centre service that provides residents and visitors to Cape Town with information on public transport in Cape Town.

The TDA Contact Centre provides information on routes, schedules, ticket prices, ticket outlets and locations of interchanges, ranks and park-and-ride facilities. The public transport information is related to public transport services such as MyCiTi, Cape Metrorail, Golden Arrow Bus Services, as well as Park-and-Ride facilities, Dial-a-Ride and kerbside parking management.

In addition to this the TDA Contact Centre offers information on long distance bus, rail and taxi operators, the location of tourist information centres, heritage sites and popular attractions in and around Cape Town.Pro-Mobility WAV

The service is currently available in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa. All calls are recorded to maintain the centre's fast and efficient call response. Call 0800 65 64 63 or send us a message.

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Private Transport Companies

Private Transport Companies offer many persons living with Mobility Impairments an alternative to Public Transport services are not always available. There are private companies such as Pro Mobility, Cape Mobility & WAV Hire who specialize in the transport of persons with disabilities in South Africa.

Pro Mobility Transport Service

Pro Mobility offers an accessible transport service for persons with disabilities in Durban & Johannesburg. The Services includes: An Airport shuttle service, Doctor / Hospital Visits, Special Events, Charter Service &  Self-Drive option coming soon. You can also contact them for any other transport requirements.Pro Mobility Shuttle Service

The vehicles are fitted with a wheelchair accessible lift and also include: Fire Extinguishers, First Air Kit, Chargers for Android and Apple Products, Air Pumps for Wheelchair wheels, Dash Cameras, Tracking Systems, Tissues and Hand Wipes, WIFI to be available soon.

Pro Mobility: are also Authorised Agents for Autochair and Ardoo Products in South Africa, Pro Mobility provides leading-edge services and solutions to those with mobility and agility impairments or limitations. With first class service and support, we cater individually to each of our clients to find the best accessible solutions according to their mobility needs.

They also sell and rent out a wide variety of products for persons with Mobility Impairments and can also install, service & repair many of the products that they supply.

Pro Mobility has their main branch in Durban, but have opened branches in Johannesburg. You can contact them on: Cell: +27 (0) 83 775 0611 or Email them on: clinton@pro-mobility.co.za or via their web site: www.pro-mobility.co.za
Durban Address: PO Box 2123 Westville, Kwa-Zulu Natal, 3630, South Africa. Pro Mobility Transfer Booking Form

QASA Transport Service

QASA has vehicles with adaptations necessary to allow persons with disabilities the opportunity of car hire during their travels. They have a number of different types of vehicles available, including a vehicle with a hand control system, which is available at the O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. They also have vehicles in Durban, which are available for hire by members who require a self drive facility. If you would like to rent one of their wheelchair accessible vehicles, or would like to find out more, you can contact them on:Cape Mobility

E-mail:  secretary@qasa.co.za or Tel: 031 767-0348

Address: 17 Hamilton Crescent, Gillitts, Durban, KwaZulu Natal

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Cape Mobility

Cape Mobility make transport accessible for wheelchair users in Cape Town & surrounding areas, by offering a Vehicle Hire Self Drive Service. Their Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle is an adapted Volkswagen Caddy Maxi. Cape mobility also makes Wheelchair Access Vehicles (WAV's) readily available to purchase in South Africa. These WAV's are already converted and ready for you to drive & have easy wheelchair access to give you the freedom to get out and about.Cape Mobility - Vehicle Hire

"The WAV's that we supply are mainly between 6 months and 5 years old and available from R180,000, landed in Cape Town including duties and VAT. These vehicles are imported by us from Motobility, a registered Charity in the UK with a fleet of 500,000 vehicles. Cape Mobility is dedicated to get the best available vehicle for you."

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You can visit their web site at: www.capemobility.co.za or contact them in Cape Town at: Tel: 021 979 1652 Cell: 072 042 8988 or by email. Please send your enquires to: geoff@stationmotors.co.uk
Address: 102B De Keur Street, Vierlanden, Durbanville, 7550, Cape Town, South Africa

WAV Hire

WAV Hire makes Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) readily available to you in South Africa. WAV Hire is a wheelchair accessible vehicle hire company, which was started in 2016 due to public demand. It was started by Johan Cillie and Geoff Dear. Johan Cillié is a Mechanical Engineer who has been in the motor industry since 1986 & Geoff is involved with Cape Mobility.

“This move was received well in the disability sector who said that they were asking for something like this for ages. WAV Hire is a self drive option and presently has four vehicles available for hire. Pre-booking is essential to prevent disappointment. Drivers are available on request.”

To make a booking or find out more, please visit their web site at: www.wavhire.co.za or you can contact them on: Phone: +27 (0) 21 851 9592 or Fax: +27 (0) 86 605 7394

Johan: Email: johan@wavhire.co.za or Mobile: 082 452 4639WAV Hire
Geoff: Email: geoff@wavhire.co.za or Mobile: 081 500 4068

Address: Nobel Park Unit 6, 9 Nobel street, The Interchange, Somerset West, South Africa.

Car Rental Services

A challenge for mobility-impaired drivers is renting a vehicle when they travel. Adapted rental cars, including those with hand controls, are available from some of the larger car rental companies, such as Avis, Budget and Imperial. Make sure you book in advance.

The larger car rental companies can supply vehicles with paraplegic hand controls, includes:

  • Avis: "We want car hire to be accessible to every driver, that's why we offer a solution for disabled drivers in South Africa. From Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria. Booking must be made at least 72 hours in advance. No extra cost. Call the National Call Centre on 0861 021 111 / +27 11 387 8431. +27 / (0)11 923-366 0,

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  • Budget: +27 (0)11 398-0123 (e-mail: reservations@budget.co.za, fax: +27 (0)11 398-0124), requires prior arrangement via reservations. From Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town. No extra cost.

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  • Drive South Africa: Offer wheelchair accessible vehicles that will allow a person in a wheelchair to be wheeled into the vehicle and secured safely. Their vehicles cater for two wheelchairs and three passengers, The Toyota Quantum's have been specifically adapted to accommodate quadriplegics. Fitted with a hydraulic side-lift that assists passengers in their wheelchairs onto a customized platform alongside the vehicle, it provides easy access and exit facilities. The drivers of these vehicles have also been specifically trained to operate the hydraulic lift to ensure passenger safety at all times. These professional wheelchair friendly chauffeurs are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in Cape Town, Durban and Gauteng.Read More: ....

International Vehicle Hire & Transport Companies

Persons with Mobility Impairments who you use Mobility Aids such as Wheelchairs or Scooters and who are traveling overseas may need to rent an accessible vehicle with a wheelchair accessible lift, or a vehicle with Hand Controls. There are a variety ofVehicle Hire different types of these and other vehicles available to rent and includes wheelchair accessible RV's for those who want to go on a long "Road Trip". There are also various companies who rent out out these vehicles, such as Accessible Vans of America in the USA which offer quality wheelchair van rentals to their customers  at competitive rates, thus making wheelchair accessible transportation convenient and affordable overseas.

www.disabledholidays.com: Wheelchair Accessible Holiday Taxis
www.wheelchairtraveling.com: Wheelchair Accessible Transportation
www.wheelchairaccessibleholidaytaxis.com: Wheelchair Accessible Holiday Taxis
www.disabledholidays.com: Care Hire
www.rvrentalcanada.ca: Wheelchair Accessible Cheap RV Rental - Canada
www.motorhomeandrvhire.com: Wheelchair Accessible RV Rental - Canada
www.worldwide-motorhome-hire.com: Motorhomes available for Rental for Disabled Users - Italy

If you are going to be driving overseas or are being transported and you use Mobility Aids such as Wheelchairs or Scooters, you may be able to use your disabled parking disk from South Africa, depending on the country that you are going to be visiting. Click on the links below to find out more:

Accessible Journeys: North American parking permits for persons with disabilities now honored in Europe

References

Gold
Pro Mobility Shuttle Service
Cape Mobility Vehicle Hire
WAV Hire

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