Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association (MDAA) Forum recently  held  a transport forum on Wednesday 15 October 2014 in Granville.  This informative  transport forum was  attended by approximately 20 people from a range of cultural backgrounds. Several issues were raised during the forum.  These issues were being taken back to Transport NSW for further consideration.  Western Sydney Community Forum presented information on our ‘What a difference a ride makes ‘ campaign.

Transport for NSW presented on a number of topics including transport and accessibility.

Following and throughout the presentations transport issues and questions raised and solutions proposed by the audience included:

Bus Travel

  • A difficulty for vision-impaired people catching buses is not being able to read the bus number in advance of hailing the bus to stop.
    • Suggested solutions put forward include voice-assisted apps which provide real-time information on next bus. Another suggestion was ‘bus hailing kit’ or apps for iPad that can be used to show  the preferred number  in large, luminous numbers to signal drivers.
  • Night-rider buses that replace trains are not wheelchair accessible.
    • A suggested solution was that alternative arrangements with WAT Taxis be made available for people in wheelchairs in these circumstances, similar arrangement to when travellers need to reach rail stations without lifts.

Rail travel

  • There was positive feedback on the presentation about the Transport Access Program and the value of use of tactiles for vision impaired people.
  • There was a request have Lift access on more stations, including Redfern
    • NOTE: Information on the status of the Transport Access Program including Redfern has since been provided to MDAA for circulation with their next newsletter to their 500 members.
  • It was suggested that more specific information about changes to the stations once the upgrades have been completed could be better targeted to PWD through the MDAA and similar community organisations within the vicinity to reach customers more directly. Customers with travel passes and those registered with community transport organisations could be mailed information directly.
  • The gap between trains and platforms remains a problem for many people, not just people in wheelchairs.
  • The provision of designated spaces for wheelchair accessible vehicles and community transport vehicles to be able to set down/pick up their clients at the nearest possible place close to stations lifts was suggested to be included in station upgrades under the Transport Access Program.

Community Transport

  • A number of people sought information about assistance from community transport. Fortunately the participation of Community Wheels Community Transport these people were able to be assisted directly.

Opal Cards

  • There were enquiries about how to access and use Opal Cards.
    • It was explained that the roll out of the Opal Cards is continuing with Concession cards to become available later this year.
    • There was considerable discussion about how the Opal Cards work and their availability. The MDAA and WSCF  suggested that they would investigate whether it was possible  to have some more detailed explanation/training on the application and use of Opal cards for their Individual Advocates and staff in other organisations who work directly with people with disability and on concessions.

Complaints and information

  • Communication with staff for people with hearing and speech impairments was raised as a general concern in receiving information on changes to services or making complaints and inquiries. The solution suggested was training for frontline staff in assisting people with disability and use of technology to provide visual information.
  • Concern about customers (organisations) having to bear the cost for the use of interpreters when using 131500 telephone information was raised a concern