Transportation issues for people with disabilities

Asia-Pacific, November 15 2013

AUSTRALIA: A recent report shows public transport users in Victoria who have accessibility issues can easily be mitigated by a few operator improvements.

The report by the Victoria Public Transport Ombudsman, Closing the Accessibility Gap, was released in September this year.

The report has investigated complaints received by the organisation and makes recommendations on how operators can improve service.

Complaints included bus drivers not deploying ramps when asked or being too far away from the curb for people to use them.

Public Transport Ombudsman Janine Young, says in her overview, there is an obligation for everybody to make public transport more accessible.

“We know that the accessibility of public transport is a key issue for people with disabilities, older people, young people, and parents with young children, people living in regional or rural areas and for people from non-English backgrounds,” she says.

“It is unsurprising therefore that the number of complaints about the accessibility of public transport services to my office have increased over time, albeit they represent a small percentage of all complaints lodged.”

Although the number of complaints about accessibility is low, she says this may reflect that many of the complaints do not actually make their way to the complaint handling system.

The recommendations in the report include developing standard industry training to improve customer service training for frontline staff, a comprehensive operator review about handling complaints related to disability, and developing a one stop guide to using public transport in Victoria.

“We firmly believe that improvements to customer service and information provision can increase the accessibility of public transport in Victoria,” says Young, in conclusion.

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