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Public transport accessibility standards for people with disability

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The Federal Government has announced new accessibility standards for public transport aimed at better supporting Australians with disability.
public transport accessibility

The Federal Government has announced new accessibility standards for public transport.

These reforms are aimed at better supporting Australians with disability.

Further, under the measures, timetables will become more accessible, and portable ramps to help wheelchair and mobility aid users get on transport options will be improved.

However, Physical Disability Australia (PDA) argued public transport remains inaccessible to many passengers. It said the measures would have little impact and called the announcement “disappointing”.

Background

Public transport accessibility standards for people with disability were first introduced in 2002.

The measures required Australia’s public transport services to be fully accessible by the end of 2022. Trains and trams have an additional 10 years to meet the target.

This week, the Federal Government announced the first reforms to these standards since they were brought in.

Public transport accessibility standards

The new measures include plans to make timetables and live transport updates more accessible.

More onboard announcements and signage will also be rolled out on transport services around the country.

Ramps that help passengers board trains, trams, and buses will have vertical barriers to improve safety. There are also plans for more taxi ranks with wheelchair access.

Transport Minister Catherine King said these new standards will “support independent travel.”

Response

However, PDA Executive Officer Simon Burchill argued there is “no requirement” or “incentive” for public transport operators to make their services more accessible.

In a submission to the government, PDA said that for every dollar the government spends on improving transport accessibility, it stands to make $2.05 from passengers’ costs.

Shadow Transport Minister Bridget McKenzie told TDA that while the Coalition “supports improved disability access across the transport sector” the approach should be a practical one, not based on government bureaucracy.

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