Consultation open to make public transport more accessible

By April, 2017 Federal, Transport
The federal government wants to make public transport more accessible for the disabled and needs your input to make it happen.

Image: Brisbane City Council.

The federal government has invited organisations, individuals and interested parties to have their say on its new guide to improve disability access on public transport systems across Australia.

The guide is titled The Whole Journey: A guide for thinking beyond compliance to create accessible public transport journeys, and has been coordinated by the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

Under the guide, the government plans to encourage policy makers, planners, designers, builders, certifiers and operators to ‘think beyond compliance and the physical and governance boundaries of services and infrastructure’ and ‘focus instead on people’s accessibility needs across their whole journey’.

According to the Department, the federal government ‘recognised’ that 13 years after inception some parts of the Transport Standards may not be meeting the current and future needs of people with disability or provide sufficient flexibility or guidance to providers and operators in their efforts to fulfill their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act.

‘This requires changing the focus from providing compliant public transport infrastructure or services to focus on enabling people to have a travel experience that is accessible, comfortable, seamless, efficient and cost effective,’ according to the Department.

It’s a similar mindset to ACT Government Director of Smart City and Regulatory Reform, Brook Dixon’s assertion that governments need to think about people ahead of trendy technologies or other feel-good solutions.

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, said stakeholder feedback was critical to ensuring the transport needs of those with disabilities were understood.

“The government is responding to the second review of Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 which we released in 2015,” Mr Chester said.

“Getting people’s feedback on the draft guide is a big part of getting the system right to ensure support across the whole journey,” Mr Chester said.

He said the final result will be better and far more accessible public transport systems throughout Australia that meet the needs of all members of the community.

Submissions to guide will close on 31 May, and feedback will be used to finalise the document.

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