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Busting Transport Myths

Rob separates fact from fiction in one of the most mind-boggling parts of NDIS policy: transport.

By Rob Woolley

Updated 15 Apr 20245 Oct 2020

Transport is possibly the most frustrating element of NDIS service delivery. It’s boggled our minds and frustrated us for years. It’s a complex cocktail of links to old service systems, mainstream interfaces, unclear information and out-of-date workarounds. And it only accounts for 3.7% of all NDIS spend – what a lot of stress for 3.7%! 

But being able to go places is, you know, kind of important. Access to transport underpins so many of the 1.6 million goals in NDIS plans across Australia, so it’s a vital part of most providers’ support models (and, by extension, providers’ businesses and reputations).

When it comes to transport, there’s a lot of confusion and a lot of misconceptions. So, in this article, we’re busting some of the most common transport myths we see making the rounds and driving us all around the bend (we promise, no more transport puns).

Transport can only be claimed from the Transport Support category in Core. True or false?

False. Two types of transport are claimable from different parts of the plan:

  • Activity Based Transport: Claimed from any of the line items in six different support categories (read more about Activity Based Transport here)
  • General Transport: Claimed from the transport support category


If you don’t have funding allocated under transport, you can’t purchase general transport. True or false?

False. If you have no transport funding allocated in your plan, you can use your core funding (provided you have it!) flexibly on transport.


If you do have transport funding allocated in your plan, and it’s paid as a periodic payment, then you can’t spend other core funding on general transport. True or false?

True. This periodic payment is usually paid fortnightly and straight into the person’s bank account, and it is listed on the person’s NDIS Plan. When this is the case, the person does not have flexibility to spend their other core funding on general transport.


Every participant can get transport support in their plan. True or false?

False. The NDIA states that transport funding takes into account whether the person can use public transport without substantial difficulty (due to their disability) and other factors like whether the person is accessing any relevant taxi subsidy scheme. Transport funding is part of the planning process. Transport funding in plans are cases that are brought most commonly to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

You can turn transport costs into hours when you claim. True or false?

False. While this used to be not technically allowed but was still fairly common practice, the Price Guide now explicitly forbids it.


If a person gets taxi vouchers through a state-based taxi subsidy scheme, they can’t use their NDIS plan for transport. True or false?

False, though accessing a taxi subsidy scheme might affect the level of transport support put into a plan. But core funding can still be used flexibly on transport providing the person doesn’t receive their transport funding as a periodic payment.


Transport and travel claims sit outside of a service booking. True or false?

False. Make sure you account for anticipated travel as best you can when you’re making a service booking, or risk getting caught short and potentially disrupting the utilisation of the Plan for the person and other providers.


A participant is not obligated to use their NDIS plan to reimburse a worker’s bus ticket if the worker is supporting them with travel training. True or false?

True. The Price Guide says providers and participants need to negotiate reimbursements on these costs up to the full amount, so it’s important to ensure these costs are discussed and agreed upon in advance.


When delivering Activity Based Transport, providers have to follow the per-kilometre prices listed in the Price Guide. True or false?

False. The Price Guide lists $0.85 per km ($2.40 per km for a vehicle that is modified for accessibility or a bus) as a reasonable contribution; however, unlike most prices, this is only a recommendation. The price you charge will be a negotiation between provider and participant, which means it may soon become a point of differentiation.


Transport must be provided in vehicles owned and operated by the registered provider. True or false?

False. The NDIA does not place any restrictions on the ownership or management of vehicles that are used to deliver transport. A provider can outsource or subcontract a transport support provision to another party – which can be a great solution! Local taxi companies, private vehicles (that are regularly inspected), local tour operators, clubs and schools would probably all love to get paid to get more use out of their vehicles, and this can also increase a person’s connection with their community.

There are many more myths, intricacies and practical details to transport support in NDIS. Luckily, we’re running a series of webinars on Transport in the coming weeks. Sign up here (and don’t forget that these webinars and many more high-quality resources are included – and regularly updated – in a Fora membership). New courses are being added every month! Click here for more details.


Rob Woolley

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