This is about subsidised public transport and mobility parking permits.

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Total Mobility

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Total Mobility

Funded in partnership by local and central government, the Total Mobility scheme assists eligible people, with long-term impairments to access appropriate transport to meet their daily needs and enhance their community participation.                                                                                                                                                                  

This assistance is provided in the form of subsidised door to door transport services wherever scheme transport providers operate.                                                                                                                                                            

It provides:

  • electronic cards or vouchers to eligible scheme members that subsidise the normal transport fare by 75% up to a maximum fare (set by the relevant regional council, or Auckland Transport)
  • funding to scheme providers to help purchase and install wheelchair hoists
  • payment to the owner of the wheelchair accessible vehicle for each Total Mobility scheme member who requires the use of a wheelchair hoist or ramp  

Scheme users are issued with an electronic card or a book of vouchers. You can obtain an electronic card or vouchers from the relevant regional council.                               

Total mobility subsidies can be claimed anywhere in New Zealand where the scheme operates.                                                                                                                          

To find out how to join the Total Mobility scheme in your area contact your nearest Disability Information Centre.                                                                                                                                                          


Mobility Parking Permit Scheme

The Mobility Parking Permit scheme scheme supports people with mobility impairments to travel more freely within their communities and is currently used by over 150,000 Kiwis.

As a mobility parking permit holder you can park in designated mobility parking spaces. These are wider than standard parking spaces (making it easier to get in and out of a vehicle with a wheelchair or mobility aid), and are located closer to services and facilities.  

The permit also allows the permit holder to park in some regular parking spaces for longer than the designated time. This varies depending on where in New Zealand the permit holder lives.

There is a fee charged for a permit and to renew an existing permit. Fees are used to administer the scheme and advocate for greater awareness around access issues and regulation of mobility parks.

  • The Mobility Parking permit scheme is managed in partnership with a number of groups.
  • CCS Disability Action manages and issues permits and advocates to improve public attitudes to mobility issues.
  • Doctors or GPs assess people to determine their eligibility.
  • Local councils provide and monitor on-road parking spaces.
  • New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) manages the legislation around parking requirements and fines

To find out more about the Mobility Parking Permit Scheme contact CCS Disability Action here or your local Disability Information Centre.

This is about how people may be able to drive themselves around in their communities.

Getting on the road

Advances in vehicle technology, such as power steering and automatic cars, have helped make driving possible for people with physical disabilities. In addition, almost any standard production vehicle can be modified.

If you have a physical disability, you should get professional assistance from a driving assessment service. The service can:

  • test your driving ability on the road
  • give advice on the controls and adaptations you need for access, seating, and to drive safely and in comfort
  • evaluate your muscle strength and range of movement.

For information on where to find your nearest assessment centre, contact:


0508 001 002

Enable New Zealand

0800 362 253

If you have a disability and you want to get your driver licence, you’ll still sit the standard theory and practical driving tests. If you can only drive in a specially equipped vehicle, the test will be carried out in that vehicle.

Consideration of individual cases is possible and you may be permitted to drive subject to special conditions. Unfortunately, some people – for their own safety and that of others – aren’t permitted to drive.

For further information you can go to the NZ Transport Agency site.

Please contact your nearest Disability Information Centre for local options.

Mobility scooters and power chairs

An increasing number of people with disabilities are turning to mobility scooters and power chairs (electric wheelchairs) as a form of transportation. This may be because they are unable to drive a motor vehicle.

Most mobility scooters and power chairs are battery powered and have three or four wheels. Mobility scooters and power chairs are legally defined as ‘wheeled mobility devices’.

You don’t need a driver licence to operate a wheeled mobility device, and they are not required to have a warrant of fitness or registration. There are, however, some important legal safety requirements you need to know about:

  • You must operate your mobility scooter or power chair in a careful and considerate manner.
  • You must use the footpath, when it is readily accessible, and stay close to the side of the road when a footpath is not readily accessible.
  • When on the footpath, you must not travel at a speed that endangers others.
  • It’s illegal for you to ride, or let any person ride, your mobility scooter or power chair in a way that may cause you or them injury.
  • If you are involved in a crash, you must stop to see if anyone is injured, help anyone who is injured, and report the crash to the Police within 24 hours.

It’s important to be aware that careless use of a mobility scooter or power chair carries legal implications. The NZ Transport Agency has more information on this.

Your local Disability Information Centre can give you information and support to find a mobility scooter or power chair to meet your needs. Some Centres have them available to hire or buy and they can assist you to fill in forms for funding assistance.

Other transport options

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Community access                                                                                                          

If you are unable to drive yourself or use a mobility scooter there are other options in many areas of the country.  

Public Transport

Some of our large cities have public transport systems that are accessible and convenient to use. This includes buses, trains and ferries. Cheaper or free fares are available in most areas, using Total Mobility or other concession schemes.                                                                                                                                                                

The Requirements for Urban Buses (the RUB) state that regional councils and transport authorities must ensure that any new buses providing urban services must be accessible to disabled people.

This includes having special buses that can 'kneel' close to the kerb with a ramp to allow access for wheelchair users. Also required is priority seating for those with physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments (including when accompanied by a guide or disability assist dog) and parents/caregivers with children.

For more information about the RUB see Waka Kotahi 

To find out if your local bus service has accessible buses contact your regional council or your nearest Disability Information Centre.  

Taxi Services

Most towns and cities in New Zealand have taxi services available. Many of these have wheelchair accessible vans with hoists. It is wise to book these well in advance, especially at peak times of the day such as early morning and from mid-afternoon.

All taxis must allow guide or disability assist dogs to travel with their owner.

Companion Services

Also available in many areas are private companion services. These offer more than just transport. They will pick you up and take you to where you want to go and, if required, they will go in with you to assist with shopping or appointments.

In some areas wheelchair accessible vehicles are available and Total Mobility can be used to receive 50% off fares.

For more information you can visit Driving Miss Daisy or Freedom Companion Services

Or talk to your friendly Disability Information Centre staff about local options.  

Tourist transport

We all like to explore our beautiful country and there are ways to make it possible for us to do this.


Air New Zealand provides wheelchair accessible flights to many destinations in this country. They also provide assistance for people with other types of impairment including blind and visually impaired, Deaf and hearing impaired. Those with 'hidden' impairments can request a discreet sunflower lanyard that signals to staff that the passenger may need some extra help. Certified service dogs are allowed in aircraft cabins.  

There are many options for wheelchair users depending on whether you need assistance to transfer, eating, drinking or using the toilet. If you would be unable to exit the plane without help in an emergency then you must have a companion over 16 years old to assist you.  

You need to check in 60 minutes before the flight and you can check in your personal wheelchair and one other chair (such as shower chair) free of charges. If your flight is boarding via an air bridge you can stay in your own chair until you get to the aircraft door. It will then be taken to the cargo hold.  

Battery powered wheelchairs can be carried as cargo on some flights but there are safety regulations regarding these. You should make sure you are familiar with these before you plan your trip. Staff are trained to use Eagle Lifting devices and you can request a male or female staff member to assist you into the sling.

For full information on flying with a disability you can visit Air NZ or give them a call on 0800 737 000.

Car Hire

When we reach our holiday destination we often rent a vehicle so we can explore the area we have come to. But what if you need a vehicle that is wheelchair accessible? What if you want to drive but you need a vehicle with hand controls?

Fortunately there are hire companies that offer disability vehicles for both short & long-term hire anywhere in New Zealand.

You can check out Freedom Mobility Rentals and Disability Vehicle Rentals to find a vehicle that suits your needs.  

The Disability Information Centre in the area you are visiting may have more local options.

Mobility scooter hire

You may just want to explore the local area where you are staying. Visiting beautiful gardens and accessible walkways can be fun and rewarding. At home you might use a mobility scooter to get around but what can you do when you're on holiday?

Many towns and cities have mobility scooters for hire. The costs are usually reasonable and the people you hire from can give you information on where you can go and where you shouldn't attempt to go!

These services are localised and the best way to find one is to contact the Disability Information Centre in the area you are planning to visit. Many of them have scooters for hire, or manage hire services for scooters at attractions.