ACC transport bill rises by 75%

The cost of transporting ACC clients in Otago has risen significantly.

Accident Compensation Corporation figures released under the Official Information Act revealed that $322,200 was paid to transport its Otago clients last year.

Costs had increased 75% from $183,625 in 2011.

Nationally, the cost of transporting clients had increased 44% - from $5.61 million in 2011 to $8.09 million last year.

ACC spokeswoman Stephanie Melville said if a client had an injury that prevented them from driving, and had access to a bus service, then ACC might help pay the fare. However, if a client could not access public transport then ACC might decide to transport a client by taxi.

'It's certainly not Dunedin Taxis but if it were, we'd be smiling all the way to the bank' - Dunedin Taxis director Murray Alcock.
'It's certainly not Dunedin Taxis but if it were, we'd be smiling all the way to the bank' - Dunedin Taxis director Murray Alcock.
An eligible client can have their bus, train or ferry fare paid for, or 29c/km paid if a private vehicle is used. The corporation could not provide a breakdown of how much was paid for buses, taxis, or the reimbursements for travel in private vehicles.

The transportation costs in Southland had increased 21% between 2011 and last year.

ACC spokesman Glenn Donovan said travel assistance entitlements were prone to fluctuation and were affected by the overall claims numbers, the types of injuries involved and the particular treatment and rehabilitation required.

ACC monitored trends in entitlements and costs but further analysis would be needed to establish if there was a definitive cause beyond the normal fluctuations.

Dunedin Taxis director Murray Alcock, who is also the Otago spokesman for the New Zealand Taxi Federation, said he had not noticed a spike in demand for taxis from ACC clients in Dunedin.

There was always a seasonal spike in transporting ACC clients after the ski season but no more than usual, he said.

He was unaware whether particular Otago transport companies were getting more business from the increase in ACC payments.

''It's certainly not Dunedin Taxis but if it were, we'd be smiling all the way to the bank.''

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

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