Transport for NSW Disability Action Plan 2012 - 2017

Disability Action Plan 2012 – 2017

Ministers' foreword

Approximately one in five people in NSW have some form of disability. This means many people face barriers to access transport services. These barriers prevent people with disability from more active participation in employment, education, recreation and community life. In response, we are committed to an ongoing program to reduce or eliminate these barriers.

The Disability Action Plan discusses the challenges, the achievements to date, the considerable undertaking that is required to finish the job, and provides a solid and practical foundation for future progress over the next five years. The Government has invested $770 million over four years towards the Transport Access Program to build key facilities and undertake much needed upgrade works at stations and interchanges. The program aims to provide: accessible stations; modern, efficient interchanges; commuter car parking; safety improvements, such as extra lighting, help points and other security measures; and signage improvements.

The Disability Action Plan centres around six critical issues:

  • How we build a transport network that is accessible to all our customers and increases our compliance with the federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and accompanying disability standards
  • How we can reduce transport disadvantage for people with disability through targeted concessions, support programs and projects and initiatives that improve access to transport in local communities
  • How we can improve the journey experience of our customers through improved information, convenience and services
  • How we engage with people with disability to understand what they need from our services
  • How we improve partnerships with local councils and other areas of government to ensure that there are no unnecessary barriers, and
  • How we provide additional employment opportunities for people with disability.

We commend the priorities in the Disability Action Plan 2012-2017. Through the next stage of implementation, we will work in an active and collaborative way with the community and all stakeholders to improve accessibility. By pursuing these goals we will benefit not only people with disability but all customers of transport services.

Gladys Berejiklian MP
Minister for Transport

Duncan Gay MLC
Minister for Roads and Ports

Glossary

  • ADA Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)
  • ADB Anti-Discrimination Board
  • AHRC Australian Human Rights Commission
  • DDA Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth)
  • DSA Disability Services Act 1993 (NSW)
  • ETS Electronic Ticketing System
  • GPS Global Positioning Signal
  • HTML HyperText Markup Language
  • LGRSP Local Government Road Safety Program
  • MLAK Master Locksmiths Access Key
  • MPS Mobility Parking Scheme
  • NSW FACS NSW Department of Family and Community Services
  • PTIPS Public Transport Information and Priority System
  • RMS Roads and Maritime Services
  • STA State Transit Authority
  • Transport Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002
    Standards (Cth)
  • TTSS Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme
  • TTY telephone typewriter or textphone
  • W3C World Wide Web Consortium
  • WATs Wheelchair accessible taxis

Introduction

The Disability Action Plan 2012-2017 is part of Transport for NSW's strategy to ensure that the needs of the customer are placed at the centre of planning and decision-making for the transport system. This means delivering high quality services to all customers including those with disability or limited mobility.

Achieving a transport system that everyone can use requires improvements to the design of transport infrastructure, customer service and customer information systems. The Disability Action Plan 2012-2017 will not only help eliminate discrimination against people with disability, but also improve the journey experience for older people, parents of young children in prams, and people with temporary disabilities or injuries.

Physical exclusion from transport services is only one form of transport disadvantage faced by people with disability. Transport for NSW is aware that opportunities and choices for people with disability also may be limited if appropriate transport services are not available or do not meet their needs.

The Disability Action Plan includes 152 actions covering all aspects of Transport for NSW's operations. It sets out a process of continuous improvement over the five year period 2012 – 2017.

The actions in the Plan cover far more than infrastructure proposals. Actions also cover reductions in transport disadvantage, access to information, improvements to the journey experience, staff training and customer services, engaging with people with disability and employment.

Details of all relevant legislation, standards and policy frameworks are provided as appendices to this Disability Action Plan. A detailed compliance schedule under the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2007 (Transport Standards) is also included.

The Disability Action Plan complies with the requirements of the NSW Disability Services Act 1993 (Section 9) to make a plan and is consistent with the objectives of the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) and the Transport Standards.

Role of Transport for NSW

Transport for NSW was established by the Transport Legislation Amendment Bill 2011 and began operating on 1 November 2011. This new integrated transport authority represents a significant change in the way that transport is planned and delivered in NSW. For the first time, planning and policy across all modes is undertaken within the one agency.

The operational transport agencies such as RailCorp, State Transit Authority (STA) and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) are responsible for front line service delivery. Their focus is delivering reliable, safe and accessible transport services. Customer service is the key driver in decision making within both Transport for NSW and the transport agencies.

Rail services are undergoing further transformation. From July 2013 RailCorp will be replaced by two new rail operators, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains. The new operators will be focused on serving their distinct customer bases – Sydney Trains for those who need frequent and reliable trains and NSW Trains for those who travel longer distances and need more comfortable, reliable trains with on-board services.

A snapshot of the NSW Public Transport system

  • Today, the NSW population is just over 7.2 million people
  • By 2031, the population of NSW will be around 9.1 million people
  • CityRail carried 294.5 million passengers in 2010-11, providing 2640 daily services on weekdays and 1813 daily services on weekends.
  • CountryLink served 365 destinations and 1.9 million passengers in 2010
  • 600 bus routes operated in the Greater Metropolitan Area, servicing 221.5 million passengers in 2010-11.
  • 529 bus routes operated in rural and regional bus areas, carrying 5.7 million passengers in 2010-11
  • Sydney Ferries' fleet consists of 28 vessels in six classes, supported by three charter vessels.
  • There are 7009 licensed taxis in NSW as at June 2012, including 837 wheelchair accessible taxis.

Strategic objectives

The aims of the Disability Action Plan are to:

  • Eliminate, as far as practicable, direct and indirect discrimination in the provision of transport services to NSW residents and visitors.
  • Reduce transport disadvantage experienced by people with disability.
  • Inform public transport planning and infrastructure development to ensure that compliance with the DDA Standards is met or exceeded within agreed timeframes.
  • Provide better customer support and information services for people with disability.
  • Provide leadership in the development and implementation of initiatives that contribute towards inclusive environments, in partnership with other NSW Government agencies and local councils.
  • Become an employer of choice for people with disability.

To achieve these objectives the Disability Action Plan has six key outcome areas, being:

  1. Building an accessible transport network
  2. Reducing transport disadvantage
  3. Improving the journey experience of people with disability
  4. Enhancing customer insight and engagement of people with disability or limited mobility
  5. Supporting accessibility through partnerships
  6. Increasing employment opportunities for people with disability in Transport for NSW agencies

Guiding Principles

A 'customer first' culture

The customer is at the centre of everything we do.

Transport for NSW recognises the rights of people with disability to participate in communities to the fullest extent possible and the importance of accessible and inclusive transport services to people with disability.

A 'customer first' culture within Transport for NSW will deliver a high level of service for all customers, openness to innovation and striving towards best practice in the delivery of accessible services, information and infrastructure.

Access for the entire community

Improvements to the accessibility and inclusiveness of transport services benefit all users, not just people with disability who rely on accessible transport.

Accessibility can be achieved through the adoption of universal design principles that remove physical barriers to access and create buildings, products and environments that are usable by people of all abilities. Broad accessibility principles must however include more than just physical access to premises and conveyances. Universal design requires that transport services also provide barrier free access for people who have vision, hearing or cognitive impairments.

Whole of journey accessibility

An accessible transport system can be thought of as a series of linked transport systems and services. It involves barrier free access to:

  • the pedestrian environment
  • the different modes of transport, and
  • the road network.

Many people with disability and older people will use all three parts of the system: either as public transport users, drivers or passengers in cars, or as pedestrians. Accessible transport needs to provide for whole of journey accessibility, including seamless transfers between the modes of transport that link together to form a continuous journey. For example, a typical journey might involve looking up timetable information, travelling to a bus stop, waiting, getting on and off the bus, walking to your destination or taking another transport service. Such a journey is only fully accessible if journey planning information and the connection and integration between each part of the journey are easy and safe. Poor connectivity and time spent waiting for public transport is often cited by people with disability as a barrier to use.

In the past, each mode of transport worked towards achieving targets for accessible transport independently. Under Transport for NSW, the focus has shifted to ensuring customers are able to easily plan and undertake a fully accessible journey. A fundamental change is the Transport Access Program - which brings together a number of programs to provide commuters with easily accessible transport services, to increase connectivity between transport modes and provide improved safety and amenity for all passengers.

Most journeys begin and end with a pedestrian link. For this reason, Transport for NSW is working with local councils to achieve improvements to bus stop infrastructure and footpaths. In this way, passengers obtain the full benefits of investing in accessible public transport vehicles and stations.

Equivalent access

Independent access to public transport conveyances is the ultimate goal of Transport for NSW. However, for at least the next ten years, the use of 'direct assistance' or 'equivalent access' on rail stations and ferry wharves is necessary to improving accessibility in NSW. Current constraints of rail infrastructure and tidal variations at commuter ferry wharves are incompatible with completely independent access.

A high level of commitment to customer service is a key priority of the Disability Action Plan. Staff training will help to ensure that the dignity and rights of people with disability are respected.

Transport for NSW is improving information provision for people with disability within public transport facilities and on-board conveyances. However, in some circumstances, the provision of information by staff using 'direct assistance' may be necessary, particularly when normal service provision is disrupted and information needs to be changed continuously and within short timeframes.

Reduction in transport disadvantage

Transport for NSW recognises the significant transport disadvantage faced by people with disability. Transport disadvantage for people with disability does not arise from a single source, but may arise from a number of factors including poor access to the physical infrastructure; low income; geographical isolation; high costs associated with alternative transport services such as taxis and modified private vehicles; lack of confidence and poor community attitudes towards passengers with disabilities.

Reducing transport disadvantage requires a multi-faceted approach making services affordable to people with disability and providing support services for people with disability who are unable to use mass transit public transport services.

Engagement of people with disability

Customer satisfaction is the key performance indicator for the Transport for NSW Disability Action Plan. In order to accurately measure customer satisfaction, Transport for NSW will ensure that people with disability are able to participate in community-wide customer feedback processes.

Transport for NSW will continue to work with advocates from the disability sector through the Accessible Transport Advisory Committee and customers with disability to identify access solutions that will deliver better services for all customers.

Transport for NSW recognises the vital importance of informing our customers about accessible transport improvements across the network and in their local communities. Transport for NSW will work with advocates to identify access solutions and develop targeted strategies to provide information about access improvements for all customers.

Defining disability

The DDA definition of 'disability' is broad-ranging and covers physical, sensory, intellectual and psychological disabilities. It includes:

  • a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction
  • total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions
  • total or partial loss of a part of the body
  • the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness
  • the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body
  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement or that results in disturbed behaviour.

The definition includes a disability that:

  • presently exists, or
  • previously existed but no longer exists, or
  • may exist in the future, or
  • is imputed to a person.

While the legislation uses a 'medical model' to define disability, it is important to distinguish between a person's impairment and the social context in which it occurs.

A 'social model' of disability suggests that disability is a product of the barriers that communities allow to remain in place. Such barriers may be physical, such as inaccessible stations and streetscapes; or social, such as a lack of information in accessible formats and attitudes of people. When a community removes those barriers, the majority of people with disability can function at much higher levels.

Potential population for accessible transport

To quantify the scale of the issue, the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimate that approximately 19 per cent or 1.36 million people in the New South Wales population have some form of disability. Of the population with a disability in New South Wales, approximately 423,000 (6 per cent of total population) have a profound or severe disability that restricts their ability to perform communication, mobility or self care activities.

However, it is important to recognise that people with disability are not all the same. Some people may have a disability that is not immediately obvious while others may have more than one impairment. Not all people with disability experience difficulties using the transport system while others may need support to gain the skills and confidence to use it independently. The available census data suggests that around 57.5 per cent of all people with disability do not use public transport. Of non-public transport users, 26 per cent live in areas where there is no regular public transport services.

Although age and disability are not synonymous, there is a very strong correlation between them. Roughly half of people with profound or severe disability are aged over 65 years. Disability increases with advanced age, with approximately 31 per cent of people over 75 years having profound or severe disability. As New South Wales has an ageing population, this is an issue of increasing importance for transport services. At June 2008, nearly 14 per cent (962,800) of the NSW population were aged 65 years or over, and is expected to rise to 20 per cent by 2020. The median age of the population of NSW has also continued to increase. At June 2008, the median age for people in NSW was 37.1 years, an increase of 1.9 years in the last decade.

Older people often experience mobility problems when they find they are no longer able to use their car because of medical reasons. Older people who are unable to use public transport services are vulnerable to becoming socially isolated or dependent on specialist community transport services.

Public transport use for many older people and younger people with disability is an option only if accessibility, reliability, information and personal security are improved.

Progress towards improving access

Transport for NSW is accountable for ensuring good quality access to transport services for all customers, including those with disability or limited mobility.

Significant improvements to the public transport system have been made since 2007, the year the last Disability Action Plan for the transport portfolios was released. Further enhancements and the pace of change will be accelerated through:

  • implementation of the Long Term Transport Master Plan
  • the delivery of the Transport Access Program, and
  • continued procurement of accessible rail passenger carriages and buses.

The Long Term Transport Master Plan will guide the infrastructure development needed to achieve a range of economic and social goals for NSW. Promotion of greater inclusiveness, accessibility and quality of life is one of these goals. By setting out a comprehensive picture of what the transport system will look like in 20 years, the Long Term Transport Master Plan will help to identify and plan for the infrastructure development and customer information requirements needed to bring the public transport network into full compliance with the Transport Standards by 2022.

The actions in this Disability Action Plan are integrated into all relevant aspects of the Long Term Transport Master Plan initiatives and the supporting modal strategies.

The accessibility of existing public transport infrastructure is being accelerated through the Transport Access Program which prioritises upgrade projects at stations, interchanges, wharves and commuter car parks.

The Transport Access Program establishes a rolling plan of works which give effect to one of the key outcomes of the Disability Action Plan - Building an accessible network - and will accelerate accessibility changes to meet Transport Standards compliance targets.

The Program brings together as a coordinated initiative seven separate programs, namely:

  • Easy Access to provide commuters with easily accessible stations and to comply with Transport Standards
  • Station Upgrades including major station upgrades and station makeovers and fencing works. The objective of this component is to ensure stations have adequate capacity to meet future growth or support urban renewal
  • Interchange Upgrades focusing on works that increase connectivity between transport modes
  • Ferry Wharves Upgrades to improve amenities for commuters, improve wharf efficiency and comply with Transport Standards
  • Wayfinding and Signage to facilitate the ease of customer journeys by standardising and improving the information available, including Transport Standards compliance
  • Commuter Carparks to increase the functionality of interchanges by providing improved commuter car parking in strategic locations, and
  • Park and Travel Safety Fund to increase customer and staff security and safety at station facilities.

The Transport Access Program has a budget of $772 million over four years to deliver much needed accessibility and safety works. As complete accessibility cannot be provided immediately, under the Program facilities are upgraded where they will have the most impact. For example, prioritisation for 'Easy Access' upgrading is based on a number of factors, including station patronage, local demographics, access to educational and medical centres, parking, bus services, shopping, tourism and whether the station is a rail interchange.

Rail services

The rail network in NSW is the oldest and most extensive in Australia. Over 1800 carriages provide services to 307 train stations in the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area and nearly one hundred CountryLink stations in rural and regional areas. The annual patronage of CityRail is 294.5 million and CountryLink is 1.9 million.

From July 2013, RailCorp and CountryLink will be replaced by new rail operators, Sydney Trains and NSW Trains. Sydney Trains will operate frequent and reliable trains over shorter distances, while NSW Trains will meet the needs of customers travelling over longer distances and need more comfortable, reliable trains with on-board services.

For the first time station staff will have customer service as a core responsibility. Front line staff will be trained in customer service and their performance will be measured around things like assisting customers on platforms, providing information and ensuring the amount of time trains wait at stations is properly managed.

RailCorp's policy, planning, design authority and procurement functions have been moved to Transport for NSW so the new operators can focus on service delivery.

The earliest stations in the network were built more than a century ago, and much of the infrastructure is more than eighty years old. A significant proportion of the trains on the network are between 20 and 40 years old. The age of the infrastructure and the scale and cost of the retrofitting task to bring stations and rolling stock into compliance with the Transport Standards is a major impediment to improved accessibility of rail services.

Given the location of Sydney stations in existing urban infrastructure, the key areas where compliance is difficult are in providing street to platform access, bridging the gap between the platform and the train and straightening curved track alignments. As the distance between the platform and carriage may vary depending upon the platform curve and the platform height, it is not considered feasible to retrofit automatic ramps to carriages. This means that rail services must continue to rely on manually deployed ramps.

Accessibility of stations

131 stations (42.7 per cent) on the Sydney network are 'Easy Access' wheelchair accessible stations, compared with 98 stations (32 per cent) in 2007. Of these stations, 68 (22 per cent) are fully accessible and another 10 (3.3 per cent) provide wheelchair access, tactile indicators, audio and visual information, hearing augmentation at ticket offices, but provide toilets and/or parking that are not accessible to people with disability.

Of the 149 stations (48.5 per cent) which do not provide 'Easy Access', 20 provide accessibility features for people who are vision or hearing impaired. These include tactile indicators, electronic indicators and audio announcements.

Another 29 stations will be made accessible by 2015 through works funded under the Transport Access Program or as part of major infrastructure redevelopments such as the Southern Sydney Freight Line or the South West Rail Link. This will bring the percentage of stations which are wheelchair accessible to 52.1 per cent by 2015. The Government is seeking to as quickly as possible maximise the number of stations with street to platform access. While not all these stations will be fully compliant with every element of the Transport Standards after completion of works, access that has not previously been available to customers with limited mobility will be provided sooner.

On the current CountryLink network, provisional figures identify 27 of 67 stations (40 per cent) as wheelchair accessible based on street to platform access. Another 30 stations (45 per cent) provide assisted access onto the platform. Assisted access is required from the platform to the train is required. CountryLink coaches are 100 per cent accessible. This is with the exception of the Taree-Forster-Newcastle coach service. CountryLink purchases seats on the service from another provider.

Accessibility of trains

All trains in use by CityRail are accessible for persons using mobility devices with 'direct assistance' using a platform to train boarding ramp. Although some people with disability have indicated that the use of 'direct assistance' does not provide sufficiently independent access for people with mobility devices, the age of rail infrastructure and its configuration means that there will be continued reliance on 'direct assistance'. For example, independent access to trains is not possible as many Sydney platforms are curved.

As at December 2012, 23 per cent of the Sydney Trains fleet of 176.5 sets are fully accessible. Our capacity to provide accessible services is limited by the age of many of the trains on the Sydney network which were purchased prior to the establishment of the Transport Standards in 1992. As the majority of the older fleet is expected to be phased out and completely replaced over the next 10 years, it is not practical to bring these trains into compliance.

The recently purchased Millennium and Waratah trains offer enhanced facilities including:

  • Dedicated wheelchair spaces
  • Priority seats for elderly and less mobile passengers
  • Accessible emergency help points
  • Audio and visual destination information, and
  • Colour contrasted doors and handrails.

As the fleet retirement continues in 2013-2014 and new trains are introduced 48 per cent of the fleet will be fully accessible. Over the next ten years, continued improvements to the percentage of accessible trains will be achieved through:

  • Purchase of new trains to support the replacement of 40 year old fleets and support timetable
  • Upgrades of Tangara trains to extend their usable life and meet customer requirements, and
  • Upgrades of rail lines.

All trains in use by CountryLink provide accessible seating, wheelchair spaces and toilets. Direct assistance is provided to board the train. To ensure that country passenger attendants are aware of customers' requirements can be passed on to the on board, country passengers who require special assistance on board services are currently required to book their trip by calling 13 22 32 or visiting a CountryLink Travel Centre. In future, notification of service requirements for customers with a disability will be added to the NSW Trains online booking service.

Customer service improvements

Even where stations are physically accessible, they may not be completely accessible in regard to information provision. Improving system-wide information is a priority for all customers, including passengers with disabilities or limited mobility.

Customers with disability and older customers have acknowledged the improvements being progressively made in customer service as a result of initiatives such as disability awareness training for all front line staff. However, consultations with people with disability and older people suggest that significant barriers remain. Only through improved customer service will we alleviate some of the difficulties people with disability face in accessing rail services. Barriers identified which are being addressed through the Disability Action Plan include:

  • occasions of poor communication with people with a sensory disability, for example pointing directions for people who are blind or vision impaired and being unwilling to write messages for people who are deaf
  • lack of or muffled audio announcements on board trains and on platforms
  • lack of visual information on board trains and on platforms
  • poor wayfinding at stations and interchanges
  • lack of assistance for passengers with a disability needing to transfer between modes of transport
  • failures to provide a ramp, particularly for disembarkation at unmanned stations, and
  • difficulties in obtaining information during emergencies and service disruptions.

In addition to ongoing staff training, other improvements currently being implemented to deal with these issues include the development of service standards for people with disability and limited mobility, improved on-board infrastructure, a wayfinding strategy and better management of service disruption communications.

Bus services

NSW maintains the largest metropolitan bus fleet in Australia with more than 3700 buses operating in the Sydney Metropolitan Area.

State Transit Authority (STA) operates the largest fleet, with over 2100 buses serving 300 routes in Sydney and Newcastle which have an annual patronage of 206 million excluding free school student transport scheme passengers. From June 2007 to October 2012, the number of low floor accessible STA buses increased by more than 100 per cent from 776 (43.4% of fleet) to 1638 (75%).

All new buses acquired by STA feature a "kneeling" suspension for level entry, and a flat no-step floor making it easier for the elderly and less mobile people to board and alight the bus. Features include an extending wheelchair ramp, accommodation for two wheelchairs, additional priority seating and increased interior lighting. Improved destination signage is featured on all of STA's newer buses.

A number of private bus operators provide bus services under Sydney Metropolitan and Outer Metropolitan Bus System Contracts. To increase the accessibility of bus services, the NSW Government provides funding for the purchase of accessible vehicles to all operators.

Bus operator compliance with the Transport Standards is a legislative and contractual requirement. Non−compliance is a breach of contract and all tenders for the new contract must address how this requirement will be met. Operators are also required, where applicable, to report on progress against accessible targets and these reports will be available to the public. The contracts also require the provision of information on services (including accessibility) to the 131 500 Infoline and website and the introduction of a new standard bus timetable (including standard notation for accessible services).

As a result of these arrangements, the proportion of accessible private buses in the Sydney Metropolitan area has risen from 30 per cent (384 buses) in 2007 to 70 per cent (1,139 buses) in 2012. Approximately 22 per cent (198 buses) of Outer Metropolitan buses were accessible in 2007. This has risen to 52 per cent (467 buses) in 2012.

The increased availability of accessible buses in the Sydney Metropolitan and Outer Metropolitan areas has enabled accessible services to be provided along more routes and improved reliability of timetabled accessible services due to greater availability of accessible replacement vehicles to cover service interruptions.

It is widely acknowledged that the provision of accessible bus services in rural and regional areas is more challenging than in metropolitan areas. While rural operators are funded to provide services which meet safety and Transport Standards, fewer services are available. Approximately 50 per cent of rural and regional bus companies with commercial (regular route service) contracts operate fewer than ten vehicles and 19 per cent fewer than five. Time series data is not available for bus services in country NSW. In 2012, self reported data from private bus services operating under contract in rural and regional areas indicate that only 17 per cent of buses are wheelchair accessible. However, approximately 30 per cent of services are timetabled wheelchair accessible.

There are also significant difficulties with bus stop and roadside infrastructure in both metropolitan and rural and regional areas which is owned and maintained by local government authorities. The substantial increase in the availability of accessible vehicles has not been matched by accessible bus stop infrastructure and road and kerb treatments that allow low floor buses to operate effectively. The inability of local government authorities to fully fund the task of making existing infrastructure accessible has been identified as the major impediment to delivering completely accessible bus routes in NSW.

Customers with disability and older people have acknowledged that there are many instances of excellent service from bus drivers. However, feedback from consultations with people with disability or limited mobility indicated that there are continuing barriers to the accessibility of bus services that are being addressed through the Disability Action Plan, chiefly:

  • occasions of drivers not taking sufficient care with the needs of their passengers through poor driving, or by not providing assistance to people with limited mobility or information to people with vision impairment
  • lack of accessible information at bus stops to access real time information and lack of on board information systems indicating stops
  • difficulty for people who are blind or vision impaired in knowing which bus to hail on busy routes and with selecting the appropriate service from a queue of buses.

These issues are being considered through staff training in disability awareness; the development of service standards for people with disability and limited mobility; piloting on-board information systems; and improving the provision of real time bus information for passengers.

Ferries and commuter wharves

NSW has the most extensive public ferry service in Australia with 46 commuter wharves and 28 ferries operating on Sydney Harbour alone. Each year 14 million trips are undertaken on Sydney Ferries each year. All Sydney Ferries' 28 vessels and both of State Transit's Newcastle ferries are wheelchair accessible via direct assistance.

Since July 2012, Harbour City Ferries - a partnership between Veolia Transdev and Transfield Services - have operated Sydney Ferries under the NSW Government's franchise model. Under these arrangements the NSW Government retains ownership of Sydney Ferries' existing vessels and the Balmain Shipyard and control fares and service levels. A key responsibility for the new operator is to improve the customer experience, including the requirement to train staff to meet the needs of all customers, including passengers with disabilities or limited mobility.

While all Sydney Ferries are accessible, only 17 (37 per cent) of wharves provide accessibility from the wharf to the vessel. Another ten (22 per cent) provide accessibility via assisted access. Major upgrades are planned at five commuter wharves from 2012-13 to 2014-15 taking the percentage of accessible wharves (wharf to vessel) on Sydney Harbour to 57 per cent.

Previously, accessibility of ferry wharves was impeded because a number of authorities were responsible for maintaining and improving wharf infrastructure. In particular, local government authorities found it difficult to provide access improvements at their commuter wharves on Sydney Harbour (22 of 46) and requested that the NSW Government take them over. These wharves were transferred to NSW Maritime in 2007 and are now the responsibility of Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).

Feedback from consultations with people with disability or limited mobility found the lack of audio/visual information on ferry vessels to be a continuing barrier to the accessibility of these services. Improvements to onboard services for people with disability will be introduced through the Ferry Strategic Operations Plan.

Light rail services

Light Rail links Central Station with Sydney's Inner Western Suburbs via Haymarket, Pyrmont, Glebe and Rozelle. All Light Rail stops and carriages are fully accessible and compliant with the Transport Standards.

Future development of Light Rail services in inner west Sydney will be fully compliant with the Transport Standards. The expansion of accessible light rail services increases choice of travel options for people with disability who will be able to use the Light Rail network to connect to other accessible modes in key city and suburban locations.

Taxi services

Taxis are included among conveyances that must comply with aspects of the Transport Standards. The Transport Standards require raised taxi registration numbers to be placed on the exterior of passenger doors forward of the handle and that networks and cooperatives ensure that response times for wheelchair accessible taxis (WATs) bookings are equivalent to those of other taxis.

In NSW, the comparative response time is measured as monthly 'average' response times for bookings made through a network. Average response times for WATs in Sydney relate to bookings through the Zero 200 Booking Service, which provides services specifically to WAT vehicles. It should also be noted that response time figures represent averages only and do not reflect differences in response times for different parts of a licensed area or at different times. Response time data is only available for Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the Central Coast as reliable average response time data for other areas of NSW is not yet available.

No Australian jurisdiction has achieved this Standard. However, available NSW data shows improvement over time.

Average Taxi Response Times (Sydney Metropolitan Area) 

  2006-07 2010-11 2011-12*
Standard taxis 7.56 minutes 6.32 minutes 6.03 minutes
Wheelchair accessible taxis 11.58 minutes 9.14 minutes 9.88 minutes

* Figures to May 2012

This represents a 14.6 per cent improvement in WAT response times from 2006/07 to 2011/12. Comparative response times between WATs and Standard taxis have improved by 4.2 per cent in the same period.

Numbers of WATs as at 1 May 2012

Area No. of WATs % of Fleet Improvement Since December 2007
Sydney Metro >609 >12.1% 24%
Outer Metro & Rural & Regional >228* >16.8% 19.8%

* An additional 42 taxis operating on standard licences are wheelchair accessible

In rural and regional areas, the number of WATs is impacted by demographic factors and overall demand for taxi services. Consequently the distribution of WATs is not as uniform as it is in metropolitan areas. While some locations have no WATs at all, others like Port Macquarie feature a large WAT fleet as a component of overall fleet growth to meet demands of the ageing population in that town.

Following a NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into the NSW Taxi Industry 2010 Transport for NSW has required authorised taxi networks in country areas to provide six-monthly reports on response times and reliability of WAT bookings.

Projections based on current response times in Sydney indicate that it may be some years before parity is reached on this compliance target in metropolitan or country areas. Transport for NSW will continue to identify opportunities to increase the number of wheelchair accessible taxis (WATs) in NSW and to issue WAT licences at the reduced fee of $1,000 per annum in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong and free of charge in country NSW. This is compared with typical lease rates for a standard licence of around $35,000 per annum. WAT drivers are fully reimbursed for the costs of specialist WAT driver training and assessment.

A loan pool of $700,000 is available to provide interest free loans to country taxi operators to assist with the purchase of new or additional wheelchair accessible taxis (WATs) that will be operating outside the Metropolitan (Sydney) Transport District. These loans are targeted to areas where no WAT service exists or where there is a demand for an additional WAT.

Transport for NSW will continue to evaluate the various incentives and subsidies which support the provision of wheelchair accessible taxis to identify how service to customers can be improved.

To ensure that WAT drivers are giving preference to passengers who use a wheelchair, Transport for NSW reviews data on all Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme trips with WAT registrations. Those operators who are not giving preference to hirings for people with wheelchairs may be granted a period in which to increase their services or have their licence cancelled.

Because of the requirement in the Transport Standards for equivalence of response times, initiatives in relation to taxis have tended to focus on the performance of the WAT fleet. However standard taxi services are also required to comply with disability discrimination laws. Feedback from consultations with people with disability suggests that more could be done to improve general taxi services. Issues raised include drivers being unwilling to allow accredited assistance animals in their vehicles and to provide a proof of fare to people with vision impairment. Tactile identification of the taxi licence number on the inside of the taxi to assist people with vision impairment also has been requested.

Pedestrian environment

Well designed pedestrian infrastructure can support safe, comfortable travel and allow independent accessibility for people with limited mobility or other disability. Transport for NSW ensures that appropriate and accessible walking infrastructure is provided as part of integrated transport projects.

Transport for NSW funds specific programs to deliver pedestrian facilities like bridges over busy roads, crossings and shared paths on state roads that are used by many pedestrians (as well as cyclists) for transport, exercise and recreation. Where feasible, we will design new shared routes to provide walkers and cyclists with separate spaces, so that conflicts between people moving at different speeds are minimised.

Public education campaigns also target key risk groups such as older road users and the safe operation of motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters. The NSW Government currently expends just under $600,000 each year on pedestrian education programs.

The mobility and safety of pedestrians at public transport interchanges is an area of increasing focus. There is an expectation that mobility plans are prepared for all transport interchanges at the design phase to ensure that customers can move safely between modes of transport, such as leaving a station to catch a bus or taxi or walking to a place of interest.

In NSW, local roads, roadside infrastructure (including pedestrian facilities) and their maintenance and upgrade are principally the responsibility of local government. Transport for NSW encourages local councils to improve the pedestrian environment through the development and implementation of Pedestrian and Mobility Plans, footpaths and other walking projects and local road safety projects funded as part of the NSW Pedestrian and Road Safety Programs. Transport for NSW works with RMS on prioritising pedestrian and road safety needs. RMS then works directly with local government through local council traffic committees regarding design and build of infrastructure.

Private vehicle users

There are 126 RMS motor registry offices across NSW. RMS aims to ensure that all motor registry offices are accessible by people with disability or limited mobility.

The costs of vehicle modification and certification of modified vehicles are a significant impost on people with disability and their families. RMS is working to increase the numbers of licensed certifiers, so that market competition will drive down this component of the cost of purchasing a modified vehicle.

Areas which require more focus are the accessibility of toilets and picnic areas at rest stops on major highways and the accessibility of emergency breakdown phones on motorways.

Details of concessions for licences and registration are outlined in the section entitled Programs to Reduce Transport Disadvantage.

Mobility Parking Scheme

The Mobility Parking Scheme (MPS) in NSW aims to improve social inclusion and participation of people with limited mobility.

Currently MPS permits with a validity period of five years are issued to individuals and organisations that provide transport services for eligible persons. Organisation permits are only to be used to provide transportation services for persons that would themselves be eligible for a MPS permit. For persons with conditions that only temporarily affect their mobility, a temporary MPS permit can be issued with up to six months validity.

As at March 2012 approximately 332,000 MPS permits were issued to individuals in NSW. Of these permits, 28 per cent were issued to younger people with disability aged under 65 years, including children with disability. Around 60 per cent of permit holders also have a driver's licence.

A review of the MPS to achieve harmonisation with the Australian Disability Parking Scheme and to reduce misuse of permits has been commenced.

Cycling

Cycling presents opportunities for people with disability and older people to travel independently, exercise and maintain community connectedness. The increasing availability of recumbent and power assisted pedal cycles enhances these opportunities.

Transport for NSW will explore the potential for supporting people with disabilities and older people to take up or continue to participating in cycling for longer in the Cycling Strategy now in preparation. The Cycling Strategy is an initiative in the Long Term Transport Master Plan.

Information

Accessible information is a vital link in the provision of accessible public transport because people with disability if not informed about accessible services are unable to use them. Information provision is not limited to pre-trip planning but also should help passengers during their journey. Accessible information and wayfinding can assist passengers to know where to start their trip from, how long their journey should take, follow the route while on board, and interchange options during their journey.

As new technologies emerge the opportunities to make information accessible increase. Initiatives likely to benefit customers with a disability include Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, electronic ticketing, real-time information and emerging technologies such as electronic way-finding for people who are blind or vision impaired. Such solutions should enhance rather than replace existing low technology solutions to ensure that people with disability who cannot afford electronic devices are not unfairly disadvantaged.

To provide accessible information on public transport services, Transport for NSW administers the contract for the 131500 Transport Info call centre and the Transport Info website Link to external website. The Infoline is accessible to the hearing impaired through a TTY telephone service and the website has been upgraded to provide key stroke navigation for the vision impaired. All transport services operating under contract are required to provide timetable and accessible services information to 131 500. Transport Info also enables customers to provide and receive feedback by phone, by email or letter and in other formats on request.

A trip planning facility for accessible services is available. However, people with disability and older people provided consultation feedback that they were not confident of the accuracy of information about accessible journeys offered on this system. In particular, the system often indicates walking distances to reach the destination or interconnecting service that are too far for the average person with a mobility disability to negotiate. Transport for NSW will make improvements to the Transport Info website Link to external website that will enable customers to plan a trip by selecting how they want to get to public transport. Walking options will distinguish between slow, average and fast walkers. It also will allow customers to plan a trip that allows for extra time between connections.

People with disability and older people indicated that their day to day interactions with transport staff are critical to making journeys accessible. The journey experiences of people with disability are varied and the quality of support provided is not consistent. While many transport staff go out of their way to provide assistance, on some occasions the service could be improved. More can be done to train frontline staff and to monitor the impact of that training.

Audio/visual information systems on all modes are crucial to improve access for people with vision and hearing impairments. Other suggestions to improve public transport information for people with disability included:

  • improving the volume and clarity of live travel announcements on platforms and on board trains
  • providing information for people with disability on how to use public transport, not just on the availability of services
  • improving wayfinding measures for people with disability in transport infrastructure, and
  • developing tools to provide accessible information to vision impaired users on the amount of taxi fare paid and the route taken.

These issues are addressed in the section of the Plan 'Improving the journey experience of people with disability'.

Programs to reduce transport disadvantage

In addition to current programs aimed at improving the accessibility of the physical infrastructure and transport information services, Transport for NSW also is working to make services more affordable to people with disability and to provide support services for people with disability who are unable to use mass transit public transport services.

Affordable services

Affordable public and private transport improves the opportunities and choices for people with disability. The NSW Government provides a range of concessions to disability, veterans, carers and aged pensioners to help reduce their transport costs. Available concessions are outlined below.

Age pensioners and people with disability who receive a Centrelink Disability Support Pension are entitled to:

  • The Pensioner Excursion Ticket (PET) for all day travel on bus, train and most ferry services in the greater Sydney area, as well as light rail from July 2012. They are also entitled to half fare concessions, where a half fare ticket is the cheapest way to make their trip.
  • The Regional Excursion Daily (RED) tickets for all day travel on local bus services in rural and regional areas. Again, half fare concessions are also available.
  • Four free single trips a year using free travel vouchers, and the Country Pensioner Excursion Ticket on CountryLink rail and coach services outside the CityRail area.

Customers who are eligible for a NSW Vision Impaired Person's Pass are entitled to free travel on public transport services in the greater Sydney area and on rural and regional local bus services. They are also entitled to half fare concessions on CountryLink rail and coach services, in addition to two free single trips per year.

Vision Impaired Person's Pass holders who are also recipients of the Disability Support Pension may make six single trips, for free, on CountryLink services, using their combined free travel voucher entitlements.

Ex-members of the Defence Forces with a service related disability which makes them eligible for a NSW Ex-Member of the Defence Forces Travel Pass are entitled to free travel on bus, train and most ferry services in the greater Sydney area. The Government recently announced that ex-Defence Force personnel who incurred an eligible disability while serving in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, and war widows whose partners gave their lives in these conflicts, will also receive entitlements to free and discounted public transport in NSW. Where they live outside the greater Sydney area, they are also entitled to six free single trips per year on CountryLink services. An Ex-member of the Defence Forces with vision impairment – who holds a NSW Blinded Soldier Pass – is entitled to unlimited free trips on CountryLink services.

Carers who receive a Centrelink Carer's Pension are entitled to the same concession entitlements as other Pensioner Concession Card holders. People with significant and lifelong disabilities who require assistance in their daily lives can apply for a Companion Card which allows their attendant to travel free, when accompanying them on public transport services.

Licensing and registration concessions are offered to people with disability and their carers who receive a pension from Centrelink or the Department of Veterans' Affairs. Registration concessions may apply to one vehicle only.

Support services

Transport for NSW is committed to developing innovative and practical transport options and solutions aimed at reducing or minimising transport disadvantage for people with disability.

Community Transport

Community Transport meets the needs of transport disadvantaged people, including isolated families, the frail aged, younger people with disability and their carers. Where conventional public transport systems are not generally viable or appropriate, community transport provides these people with access to recreation, shopping, services and social contact. Across NSW community transport groups complete over 2.5 million trips per annum.

Transport for NSW administers funds of more than $43.3 million (2011/12) to 120 community transport organisations granted through the Commonwealth funded Home and Community Care (HACC) community transport sub-program for frail older people and younger people with disability, and their carers.

Transport for NSW also administers the NSW funded Community Transport Program (CTP). The CTP aims to address transport disadvantage at the local level primarily by promoting efficient use of transport resources that exist within the community. The Government has committed to increase CTP funding by $12 million over four years, providing close to $4.6 million in 2010-11 improving access by transport disadvantaged people to vital transport services.

Community transport organisations are largely responsible for the purchase of vehicles. The Transport Standards do not require community transport vehicles to be accessible unless they are providing services to the general public. However, under the NSW HACC Community Transport Guidelines it is not acceptable to refuse service based on the unavailability of an accessible vehicle. Vehicles should be wheelchair accessible where possible and appropriate.

Regional transport coordinators

Transport for NSW operates a Transport Coordination Program in rural and regional areas to address the needs of people facing transport disadvantage. In NSW, there are 11 Transport Coordinators who work to reduce the negative effects of transport disadvantage through improved coordination with community stakeholders, transport operators and other agencies. The Regional Transport Coordinators work in local communities to improve transport access and foster social inclusion by developing local partnerships; improving use of resources; providing better information. Local projects such as travel training are funded through this program.

Travel training

Travel training is crucial to helping people with disability and older people who no longer drive, gain the confidence to travel on all forms of public transport. Access to public transport is much less costly than taxis and can work jointly with community transport buses to increase access by people with disability to community participation.

Travel training is delivered by both specialist providers in the community transport sector and by transport operators. Specialist travel trainers offer training to people who are relatively mobile and be capable of travelling independently. This type of training helps people with disability to set travel goals, plan journeys, buy tickets, follow timetables and identify landmarks to reach their destination.

Transport operators are required to work effectively with specialist providers and to offer a limited travel training service. Operator delivered travel training typically comprises demonstrations on safe boarding of public transport vehicles, explaining boarding assistance that can be expected and providing information about timetables and services.

While Transport for NSW does not directly deliver travel training, the Disability Action Plan recognises the need for consistent service requirements by bus operators and for partnerships with non-transport partnerships to increase capacity in the sector.

Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme

The Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme (TTSS) provides subsidised travel, allowing approved participants to travel by taxi at half fare, up to a maximum subsidy of $30 per trip. The scheme was introduced in 1981 to assist NSW residents who are unable to use public transport because of a qualifying severe and permanent disability.

From 2007 to 2012, $152.5 million was expended on the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme. There are currently 72,178 active users of the Taxi Subsidy Scheme, 27 per cent of whom are dependent on WAT taxi services.

Action Plan

Building an accessible transport network

Accessibility is a performance criteria for public transport products and projects

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Require all new and refurbished transport infrastructure to meet customer focused design standards and comply with DDA requirements All new works contribute to achievement of accessibility targets Ongoing
Review transport service planning guidelines for all modes to equitably distribute accessible conveyances across the transport network Future updated service planning guidelines for bus, ferry and rail services reflect the needs of all users 2013
Review existing and develop customer focused design standards and criteria for accessible stations, wharves and interchanges Design vision documents and associated handbooks completed 2014
Include specifications for accessibility, in-line with the Transport Standards in the design phase for all future purchases or provision of public transport conveyances All new conveyances meet customer requirements Ongoing
Keep under review new and emerging technologies, such as electronic orientation systems, that can assist people with disability using public transport Information collated and provided to stakeholders Ongoing
Establish a pre-qualification panel of access consultants to increase the consistency of technical advice on DDA compliance of transport infrastructure projects Access advice prepared by accredited advisors as part of the design review process 2013
Improve methodologies used to forecast demand for accessible transport Review of available data sources completed 2013, ongoing

Progressively undertake works to upgrade railway stations and interchanges to improve access for all customers

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Continue the roll out of the Transport Access Program to improve access to stations, interchanges, wharves and carparks on the basis of prioritised need Annual program budgets expended in accordance with identified priorities and Transport Standards timelines met Ongoing
Accelerate the delivery of the Transport Access Program by providing staged works, with an initial focus on step-free street to platform access at stations Delivery of Easy Access ramp upgrades at 18 stations by 2016 2016
Consider the potential to incorporate Transport Standards requirements when planned maintenance or minor works are undertaken at stations A clear link between maintenance works planning and accessibility prioritisation is achieved Ongoing
Work with Local Government and private sector partners to deliver a whole of precinct approach to accessibility during station and interchange upgrades Processes established to involve Local Government in all major works programs Ongoing
Ensure that all new retail spaces at interchanges and railway stations meet the National Construction Code Access to Premises Standards 100% of retail spaces meet Access to Premises Standards Ongoing
Set standards for accessible seating and include adequate seating in the design of new and refurbished rail platforms Minimum standards for accessible seating included in Station & Interchange Design Guidelines Ongoing
Identify and progressively upgrade or remove pedestrian level crossings that are unsafe or not accessible for people with disability Reduction in the number of inaccessible and removal of all unsafe pedestrian level crossings Ongoing

Continue to improve the accessibility of the bus network

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Progressively replace non-compliant buses with low floor, accessible buses built to design specifications that have been tested by customers with disabilities and comply with Transport Standards All new buses comply with Transport Standards and meet customer requirements Ongoing
Place accessible buses on priority routes and expand timetabled accessible services as buses become available Increase in the percentage of accessible services Ongoing
Ensure staff are fully trained in the use and application of accessibility features on buses Reduction in complaints about access ramps and automated audio announcements (where applicable) on buses Ongoing
Require all operators of contracted bus services to comply with Transport Standards and produce a Disability Action Plan Compliance with Transport Standards included in contract performance reporting 2013
Control treatments of main roads on bus routes to cater for low floor buses where possible Reduction in roads that are unsuitable for low floor buses 2017
Service network reviews should consider access to narrow, congested streets as part of review process and alternative options identified Value studies conducted 2014

Implement measures to increase the number of accessible bus stops

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Review and reissue guidelines on bus stop design standards for accessibility New guidelines issued to bus contractors and local councils 2014
Work with local councils to undertake risk reviews to identify bus stops along major corridors that need improvements to meet DDA Standards for Accessible Public Transport Access issues identified and prioritised through Local Council Traffic Committees 2015
Seek funding to develop a multi-year program to progressively upgrade the network of bus stops to meet Transport Standards requirements in partnership with local councils Funding target achieved 2014
Work with local councils to accelerate the upgrades of bus stops, remove access barriers and trip hazards in the vicinity and ensure road markings in bus zones enable buses to pull up next to the kerb Increase in the number of accessible bus stops Ongoing
Work actively with local councils to resolve individual complaints and issues raised by customers Complaints resolved at the local level Ongoing
Standardise plinth design to ensure they are appropriately located at bus stops and provide accessible information New Plinth Design guidelines issued 2013
Provide raised lettering and Braille to indicate bus stop numbers & route destination information at bus stops All bus stops include tactile information 2017
Increase deterrence and enhance enforcement of parking offences in bus zones Fewer complaints about drivers not pulling into the kerb Ongoing
In consultation with the blindness sector, investigate best practice to develop a reliable system at bus stops to assist people with vision impairment to catch their desired bus Research completed and options costed and tested with customers 2014

Continue to improve accessibility of ferry services

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Upgrade ferry wharves to comply with the Transport Standards Wharf upgrades meet Transport Standards Ongoing
Include adequate and accessible seating in the design of new and refurbished wharves Accessible seating included in wharf premises and infrastructure Ongoing
Ensure that all new retail spaces at interchanges and wharves meet the National Construction Code Access to Premises Standards 100% of new retail spaces are accessible Ongoing
Ensure that regular inspection and maintenance of wharf infrastructure is conducted to prevent safety problems for people with disability Compliance with maintenance schedules and reporting Ongoing

Implement measures to increase access to taxi services by people with disability

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Review disability awareness training provided by the taxi industry for all taxi drivers Reduction in complaints from people with disability relating to drivers 2013
Evaluate the various incentives and subsidies which support the provision of wheelchair accessible taxis to identify how service to customers can be improved. Strategies to improve service to WAT customers identified and endorsed by Government for implementation To commence 2013
Improve wheelchair accessible taxi availability between 7 am a 8 pm on Sundays WAT availability on Sundays to increase from 10 per cent to 25 per cent of all WATs in Sydney 2013
Work with the taxi industry to explore opportunities to increase accessibility of NSW taxis in the standard fleet, including consideration of talking meters Discussions commenced To commence once WAT review is finalised
Work with local councils to review taxi ranks in their area to determine rank accessibility, and identify areas where improvements can be made Participation in local traffic committees Ongoing

Improve the walking and cycling environment for all users

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Prepare pedestrian mobility plans to achieve walkability and safe road crossings in the planning and design phase of new public transport facilities Walkable urban form around major transport interchanges Ongoing
Improve pedestrian crossing safety, shared paths interaction and review traffic signal phasing for pedestrians Reduction in casualities Ongoing
Increase pedestrian traffic signal phasing around health and disability services and in areas with large numbers of older people, where possible Reduction in pedestrian crashes involving older people 2013
Ensure that all new road works undertaken by RMS affecting pedestrian crossing points or bus stops result in DDA compliance. Required features include audio push buttons, kerb ramps and tactile ground surface where required under AS1428.4. 100% of new works are DDA compliant Ongoing
Work with local councils to facilitate local road works that support pedestrian accessibility and are DDA compliant Number of local projects reviewed by RMS regional officers Ongoing
Review and reissue guidelines for preparing Pedestrian Access and Mobility Plans, to achieve a more strategic focus and incorporate specific guidance on accessible features of the pedestrian environment Guidelines finalised and distributed to all local councils 2013
Continue to support local councils deliver road safety initiatives for older people and people with disability through the Local Government Road Safety Program (LGRSP) Proportion of all LGRSP funded projects that enhance accessibility outcomes Ongoing
Improve mobility scooter safety for older road users Reduction in fatalities and serious injuries Ongoing
Explore the needs of people with disability and older people who cycle in the NSW Cycling Strategy. Number of cycling projects which address the needs of people with disability and older people Ongoing

Road and private transport services support the mobility of people with disability and older people

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Continue to provide guidelines about permissible vehicle modifications for drivers and passengers with disabilities Guidelines available in print and on RMS website Ongoing
Continue to licence certifiers with the appropriate skills and experience to ensure the safety of vehicle occupants and other road users in relation to vehicles modified for drivers with disability Increase in the number of licensed certifiers 2014
Review of the NSW Older Driver Licensing Scheme through an Older Driver Task Force Review completed and implemented 2013
Provide guidance to health professionals in assessing a person's fitness to drive and make recommendations regarding conditional licences Distribution of the new Assessing Fitness to Drive booklet 2013
Review road network standards and signage to improve accessing, including access to emergency roadside telephones and rest areas Complete audit to identify areas of highest need and determine forward program of works 2015
Ensure all road signs on State Roads are in accordance with Australian Standards 100% of road signage on State Roads is designed or supplied in accordance with AS1743 2015

Improve Mobility Parking Scheme (MPS)

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Work with local councils to enhance compliance and enforcement of MPS permits to maintain the integrity of the scheme Regular meetings with local councils through a disability parking working group Ongoing
Review the NSW MPS in line with national eligibility criteria and proposed national minimum standards Report on the review completed
Agreed recommendations implemented
2013-2015
Promote new eligibility criteria for the provision of mobility parking permits to health professionals Distribution of supporting guidelines to health professionals, as well as promotion of new eligibility criteria 2013

Utilise new technologies to deliver access improvements for people with sensory disability using public transport.

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Utilise the Public Transport Information & Priority System (PTIPS) to provide information to passengers on board buses, at bus stops and at interchanges PTIPS rollout completed 2013
Collaborate with the disability sector regarding the application of electronic travel aids for people with an intellectual disability and electronic orientation aids for people who are blind or vision impaired in a transport environment and information aids for people with hearing impairment Research paper completed and options identified 2013

Reducing transport disadvantage for people with disability

Help people with a disability to cover the cost of transport services

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Continue to provide travel concessions to eligible passengers on age, veterans, disability or carers pension Number of concessional journeys Ongoing
Continue to provide concessional car registration and licences to people in receipt of an age, veterans, disability or carers pension Number of new concessional car registrations and licences provided Ongoing
Continue to provide free travel entitlements for attendants of people with disability through the Companion Card system Number of companion cards issued Ongoing
Improve access to and simplify information about concession schemes and passes by people with disability and their carers Better information is published 2014

Provide alternative transport services for people with disability who are unable to access public transport

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Contract for specialised community transport services for frail older people and people with disability Services delivered as per contractual obligations Ongoing
Implement policies and programs to optimise outcomes from community transport operations Increase in accurate output data in the Minimum Data Set 2013
Consider amendment of the NSW Passenger Transport Act 1990 to include accreditation of community transport services Completion of public consultation on accreditation March 2013
Continue to provide taxi subsidies to eligible people with disability and evaluate the level of subsidy provided Number of scheme participants Ongoing

Reduce the number of barriers that prevent people with disability from accessing public transport

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Work with NSW FACS to research alternative service delivery options for people with disability who are transport disadvantaged, including journey companion schemes Research report completed and options identified 2014
Develop travel training models on safe entry and exit of buses in mobility devices for use by Metropolitan Bus Contract operators 100% of Metropolitan Bus Contract operators facilitate travel training on request 2015
Work with NSW FACS to conduct pilot travel training programs for people with spinal cord injuries and older people who have relinquished their driver's licences Proportion of pilot participants who continue to use public transport six months after completing travel training 2014
Run campaigns which promote safety and instil values of courtesy among all customers on public transport networks Courtesy campaigns conducted Ongoing

Improve access to transport for people with disability in rural communities

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Employ regional transport coordinators in regional NSW to reduce the negative effects of transport disadvantage through improved coordination with community stakeholders, transport operators and other agencies Improved utilisation of resources
Increased transport options
Ongoing
Include accessible transport in the development of Regional Transport Plans Regional transport plans include a mix of options to improve transport access 2014
Prioritise projects in the Country Passenger Infrastructure Grants Program that improve bus stops and road infrastructure in rural, regional and remote areas All work 100% compliant with Transport Standards Ongoing
Operate fully accessible coaches to rural and regional locations serviced by CountryLink coaches 100% of CountryLink coach journeys are accessible Ongoing

Improving the journey experience of people with disability

Develop and promote a culture of inclusion and customer service among Transport for NSW staff and our transport delivery partners

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Inform all managers about accessibility objectives and strategies Number of managers that attend information session 2013
Provide disability and age awareness training to all frontline customer service staff and include awareness in the criteria for assessing their performance. Number of front line staff trained (including refresher and new staff inductions) Rollout commencing in 2013
Progressively introduce audio-visual materials featuring people with a range of disabilities to support disability awareness training Review of existing curriculum support materials conducted 2014
Introduce disability awareness training for 131500 and Opal call centre operators Number of staff who receive training Rollout commencing in 2014
Continue to celebrate the International Day for Disability with promotional activities Conduct activities annually Ongoing

Introduce practical measures to improve the journey experiences of people with disability or restricted mobility

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Develop standard operating procedures for each public transport mode for providing assistance to passengers with a disability Guidelines delivered in consultation with stakeholders 2013
Provide real-time information on lifts that are closed for maintenance or repair through 131 500 and customer SMS and twitter feeds Trial program completed and evaluated 2015
Monitor complaints from individual passengers regarding disability access and act on their concerns to the fullest extent possible 2 yearly audit undertaken of complaints handling for disability issues by Transport for NSW 2014, ongoing
Develop and provide to transport operators good practice guidance guidelines on the safe carriage of wheelchairs and mobility scooters on public transport conveyances Guidelines completed and distributed to transport operators and contracted services 2014
Meet the needs of people with disability or limited mobility and older people during emergency transport response and recovery operations Safe and timely movement of people with disability Ongoing
Include MLAK facilities in accessible toilets at all new and refurbished stations and interchanges Standard specification Ongoing

Provide information about transport services that is accessible to all customers

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Achieve compliance W3C AA standards for website accessibility on all Transport for NSW websites in accordance with current W3C and NSW Government guidelines All sites are W3C A compliant by 31 December 2012.
All sites are W3C AA compliant by 31 December 2014
HTML pages are used as standard. PDFs are only used for excessively large documents or forms.
2015
Provide detailed descriptions in HTML for all images that convey information (ie graphs, route maps and station and interchange location guide) PDFs and images that convey information have detailed descriptions as HTML. Ongoing
Transcribe audio content and caption and audio describe video content on Transport for NSW Websites Audio content has HTML transcripts and video content has captions. Ongoing
Audit website by accessibility experts and implement recommendations Audit completed. Recommendations implemented. 2013

Offer tailored journey planning through the Transport Info website Link to external website and phone-line

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
All transport services provide timetable information on accessible websites and in alternative formats on request All requests responded to Ongoing
Show details of accessible bus routes and the accessible access points to stations and wharves on public transport maps and on-line services Transport Contracts stipulate provision of information about accessible services.

Transport maps and on-line services are up to date

Ongoing
Station guides include lifts, accessible ramps and other information for accessible travel Station guides contain all relevant accessible information and are easily accessed online Ongoing
Interchange guides include lifts, accessible ramps and other information for accessible travel Interchange guides contain all relevant accessible information and are easily accessed online Ongoing
Show taxi ranks on interchange maps Maps show taxi ranks (where data is available) Ongoing
Improve the capacity to indicate accessible trains carriages and bus stops on on-line services Timetabled information shows accessible stops and carriages where data is available 2015

Improve the accessibility of announcements, visual information and way-finding signage

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Progressively add 'on-board next stop' visual displays and audio announcements on public transport conveyances. Reduction in complaints regarding on board announcements and visual displays ongoing
Ongoing training of rail staff in clear voice announcements Completion of 'Radio School' pilot on Illawarra line ongoing
Develop standards and guidelines for audio and visual passenger information announcements Development of service standards and implementation guidelines 2013
Install Passenger Information Points on station platforms to provide customers with electronic real-time service information (both visual and audio) as well as connection to emergency help Inclusion in station upgrade specifications 2013, ongoing
Undertake a review of the current design standards for wayfinding at public transport facilities, assessing issues that affect legibility of signage for people with low vision, including luminance contrast, text sizes, use of pictograms, consistency, and identification of accessible facilities and pathways Updated wayfinding design standards for new signs 2013
Develop revised standard operating procedures regarding the provision of information during planned and unplanned service disruptions Performance of transport operators against service standards 2013
Involve people with low vision in evaluating designs and prototypes for new signage types Customer satisfaction with wayfinding design standards 2013
Where a recognisable symbol exists, identify facilities at public transport and RMS facilities by the use of that symbol Appropriate symbols and usage incorporated in wayfinding design standards Ongoing

Assist people with hearing impairments to access public transport services through hearing augmentation.

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Progressively install hearing augmentation at all counters connected with service provision to the public, public transport facilities where PA systems are used and on new public transport conveyances Compliance target 100% 2017
Indicate through pictograms where hearing augmentation is available Compliance target 100% Ongoing to 2017

Ensure accessibility features 3 of public transport are in good working order.

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Develop whole of life asset management plans that make adequate provision for routine maintenance Provision for maintenance in TAMP Ongoing
Make adequate provision for ongoing maintenance when transport facilities or conveyances are handed over to Local councils or private providers Provision for maintenance in TAMP Ongoing
Provide bus drivers and rail staff with adequate training in the operation of automatic and manually deployed ramps and other accessibility equipment All bus drivers and rail guards and station hands have completed training Ongoing

Enhance the safe evacuation of people with disability or restricted mobility in emergencies

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Review current evacuation practices for each transport mode to cater for appropriate emergency response arrangements for people with disability or restricted Evacuations guides reviewed and updated as appropriate 2013
Review current requirements for assisting people with disability in emergency training and evacuation plans for all public transport facilities Evacuation maps and procedures at all public transport facilities Ongoing

Deliver a fully accessible electronic ticketing system

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Ensure that tap on tap off Opal readers meet accessibility standards Device has been independently verified as DDA compliant. Complete
Ensure that tap on tap off Opal readers are situated in accessible locations Reader Placement principles agreed.
Detailed installation concept design developed for each location.
Before devices are installed
Include wide gates in all stations where electronic gates are used Compliance
Target 100%
By 2014
Provide accessible ticket vending machines at stations and at major interchanges Compliance

Target 100%

In line with Opal progressive roll out strategy
Provide a range of options to acquire and add value to Opal smartcards Compliance
Target 100%
In line with Opal progressive roll out strategy
The Opal website provides accessible design and features Independently verified as DDA compliant. Before website goes live
Work with the disability sector to update travel training tools for people with disability in line with the new ticketing arrangements Consultation for rollout implemented.
Development of communication plan for disability groups
In line with Opal progressive roll out strategy

Enhancing customer insight and engagement of people with disability or restricted mobility

Increase our insight into the travel needs of customers with disability and older people through qualitative research on their journey experiences

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Include accessibility among customer indicators to measure satisfaction with public transport services and assist people with disability to participate in customer feedback systems Number of people with disability who provide customer survey feedback Ongoing
Commission research through either a "mystery traveller survey" or other method to assess the accessibility of public transport services Research conducted for all transport modes 2013
Ensure that any replacement Customer Feedback Management System enhances the capacity to identify issues of concern to people with disability Data coding system in place to identify disability specific issues
Requirements for new / upgraded Customer Feedback system to be assessed.
2015
Involve people with disability in testing design specifications for new public transport conveyances and infrastructure A panel of people with disability available to provide feedback on specific design proposals and prototypes 2013

Increase opportunities for ongoing engagement with people with disability and their carers and disability peak sectors

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Continue to consult with people with disability through the Accessible Transport Advisory Committee on plans for future transport improvements 4 meetings a year held Ongoing
Adopt strategies to promote public consultations on transport issues to people with disability Channels for communicating with disability sector established Ongoing
Ensure that all venues for public consultation are accessible to participants with a disability Compliance target 100% Ongoing
Provide adjustments such as assistance on arrival and departure, sign language interpreters, electronic text in MS Word and Braille content, for public consultation participants upon request All reasonable requests have a response Ongoing
Develop formal customer forums to inform people with disability about the new DDA Action Plan implementation and to receive feedback Annual forum for disability sector From 2013
Enable people with disability to provide their feedback to public consultation issues through alternative methods e.g. verbally by phone, on-line, video feedback Compliance target 100% Ongoing
Break down barriers that prevent people with disability with appropriate expertise to sit on mainstream Ministerial and Transport for NSW advisory bodies Increased representation of people with disability 2017

Provide information, campaigns and marketing materials that is inclusive of all customers

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Use plain and clear English in all public transport information and marketing Internal audit of materials
Release and launch of new campaigns and corporate information materials
Ongoing, based on business and campaign cycle
Include positive images of people with disability in publications Internal audit of materials
Release and launch of new campaigns and corporate information materials
Ongoing, based on business and campaign cycle
Ensure teletext captions are added to television advertising to assist persons with a hearing impairment 100% of television advertising includes captions Ongoing
Ensure that the visual elements of advertising is audio described and on-screen text information verbalised to assist customers with vision impairment 100% of advertising relating to public transport is audio described Ongoing

Supporting accessibility through partnerships

Work effectively with other NSW government agencies to enhance accessible transport objectives

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Consider potential impacts of NSW planning and other legislation on delivery of accessible transport networks Cross agency processes established Ongoing
Continue collaboration with NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure on the Transport Access Program, as appropriate, and the Premier's Council for Active Living to integrate land use planning and accessible transport services Cross agency partnerships established Ongoing
Continue collaboration with NSW Family and Community Services to implement whole of government strategies on disability and ageing Implementation of strategies for which Transport for NSW is responsible 2015
Contribute to cross agency planning and delivery of accessible major events in NSW Transport access included in all major event plans Ongoing
Work with the Commonwealth Government to develop a national labelling scheme and safety standards for mobility scooters Scheme established 2015

Provide additional support and incentives to local councils to provide accessible transport infrastructure

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Support accessibility works to footpaths, roads and bus stops around transport interchanges and new station developments Accessibility provided in immediate precinct 2017
Work with local government to ensure that roads and streets along bus routes can accommodate low floor buses, where possible Increase in routes drivable by low floor buses 2017
Consult with local Government during regional bus network planning process to provide accessible infrastructure to meet bus services Increase in number of accessible bus stops 2017

Ensure that contracted public transport services provide accessible services

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Ensure that disability action plans form part of contractual arrangements with contracted transport service providers Compliance target 100% 2014
Work with operators to assist them in understanding Transport Standards obligations and in implementing their disability action plans DAP guidelines provided 2013
Encourage the transfer of knowledge and exchange of information about best practice on accessibility between providers of transport services through annual regional forums Forums held covering each bus contract region Ongoing from 2013

Identify partners from a range of sectors to provide information about accessible transport

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Partner with/promote information services that provide accessible public transport information Accessibility partners identified.
Promotion of information services
Ongoing

Purchase goods and services from disability employment organisations subject to an assessment of value for money

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Conduct a review to determine goods and services which could be purchased directly from disability employment organisations Review completed and opportunities identified 2013
Increase awareness with Transport for NSW agencies of the Premier's Memorandum M2010-06 Exemption from Procurement Policy for Disability Organisations and the requirement of NSW Government agencies to support the implementation of initiatives to improve employment opportunities for people with disability Memorandum issued 2013
Work with National Disability Services to identify specialist disability employment services with capacity to provide required services e.g. landscaping and maintenance, cleaning services Number of contracts established with disability employment services Ongoing

Increasing employment opportunities for people with disability in Transport for NSW agencies

Develop organisational capacity and a workplace culture that promotes workforce diversity and provides a safe and supportive work environment for all employees in line with the NSW Government EmployAbility strategy

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Incorporate disability planning and implementation in agency business and workforce development plans Targets established 2013
Ensure that HR policies, procedures and practices comply with and support equity and diversity principles, policies and legislation Review completed 2013
Establish systems to collect, analyse and report on disability data from new and existing employees and job applicants System established 2013
Develop cluster-wide policy, resources and guidelines on reasonable adjustment to provide HR practitioners, line managers and supervisors with consistent guidance about workplace adjustments, flexible work options, equipment and financial support programs to support job applicants and employees with disabilities Guidance developed and distributed 2013
Establish an equity & diversity category in Employee Excellence Awards to recognise and reward managers and teams that have demonstrated excellence in employment equity and diversity outcomes Award established 2013
Apply the new Premises Standards in the building of new or refitting of workplaces Compliance target 100% Ongoing

Ensure that managers and staff are fully aware of and respond to their rights and responsibilities in regard to employment equity for employees with a disability

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Provide disability awareness training as part of induction training for all staff Disability awareness training included in staff induction Ongoing from 2013

Improve the recruitment experience for people with disability in line with the NSW Government EmployAbility strategy

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Ensure that all staff and managers involved in recruitment are trained in EEO principles, are aware of disability and workplace adjustments and supports and of diversity strategies and targets All recruitment panels include at least one member who has completed training Ongoing from 2013
Provide recruitment information for potential job applicants in alternative font sizes and word documents and other alternative formats, on request All requests from applicants met Ongoing
Establish strategic partnerships with disability employment networks and agencies to attract people with disability to apply for jobs Increase in number of job candidates with disabilities Ongoing
Promote and offer entry-level programs including apprenticeships, traineeships, jumpstart cadetships, graduate and internships NSW EmployABILITY targets met or exceeded Ongoing
Adopt advertisement wording which encourages job applications from people with disability Standard wording applied Ongoing
Ensure position descriptions and selection criteria are based on the inherent requirements of a job and do not inadvertently discriminate against people with disability NSW EmployABILITY targets met or exceeded Ongoing
Require that contractors engaged by agencies to assist in recruitment action demonstrate a thorough understanding of EEO principles and Transport for NSW commitment to improving employment outcomes for people with disability Contracts reflect DDA obligations Ongoing

Help people with disability build careers in the NSW public sector in line with the NSW Government EmployAbility strategy

Actions Milestone/Indicator Timeframe
Establish and support disability networks for employees to facilitate consultation and provide development opportunities Disability support networks established in all Transport for NSW workplaces 2013
Ensure managers work with employees that have identified the onset of a disability, to develop workplace plans that identify strategies to support employee and any necessary adjustments required NSW EmployABILITY targets met or exceeded Ongoing
Provide appropriate post induction support for new employees who have disclosed a disability and their managers NSW EmployABILITY targets met or exceeded Ongoing
Ensure all internal and outsourced staff training and development activities consider access requirements for employees with disability NSW EmployABILITY targets met or exceeded Ongoing
Organise suitable transitional duties for workers returning to work while recovering from a work-related injury Return to work plans in place for all workers deemed fit to work Ongoing

How the plan was developed

Transport for NSW has developed its Disability Action Plan in accordance with the Guidelines for disability action planning by NSW Government agencies (2008) developed by NSW Department of Family and Community Services (Ageing Disability and Home Care) (NSW FACS). It also accords with the NSW Government's disability employment strategy 2010-2013, EmployAbility – a public sector wide approach to employing, developing and retaining employees with a disability.

The Plan was built in consultation with key personnel across all central divisions and from each of the transport operators: RailCorp, Roads and Maritime Services, State Transit Authority and Sydney Ferries.

A Steering Group was established to gather information about existing policies, plans and practices and to identify and prioritise projects that will improve the accessibility of transport services. The Steering Group also included specialists in human resource management who provided advice on aspects of policy affecting employment of people with disability in all Transport for NSW agencies.

Input was received from the Accessible Transport Advisory Committee which comprises representatives from peak disability and ageing organisations about the barriers that prevent people with disability or with mobility concerns from accessing public, private and community transport and the NSW Council for Social Services.

Additional external consultation was sought through a series of focus groups with people with disability to gain insight into changes and strategic planning required to provide accessible transport and inclusive customer services.

Focus groups were conducted with members and clients of:

  • The Disability Council of NSW
  • People with disability Incorporated
  • Council for Intellectual Disabilities
  • Spinal Cord Injuries Australia
  • Blind Citizens Australia
  • Vision Australia
  • Guide Dogs NSW
  • Arthritis Australia NSW
  • Deaf Society of NSW
  • Combined Pensioners and Superannuants.

     

Community results

The results expected from the Disability Action Plan will be measured through both customer satisfaction measures and quantitative measures of Transport for NSW's compliance with the Transport Standards and other output measures including achievements in staff training.

In terms of our responsibilities as an employer, our results will be aligned to EmployABILITY: Increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities in the NSW public sector. This is a targeted, sector-wide approach to employing, developing and retaining employees with a disability. EmployABILITY establishes a new target to increase the employment of people with disabilities requiring a workplace adjustment to 1.5% by 2013. Where the EmployABILITY target has already been met or exceeded by transport agencies, the aim will be to maintain or increase existing levels of employment by people with disabilities.

Transport for NSW agencies are also supporting employment of people with disabilities by third-party contractors by prioritising use of procurement contracts for goods and services from specialist disability employment services. Targets will be set after an initial review to determine goods and services which could be purchased directly from disability employment organisations has been conducted.

The table below sets out intended results from the Disability Action Plan, priority actions and key performance indicators. In addition to these high level indicators, implementation of each action in the Plan will be monitored on a quarterly basis (see Delivery, monitoring and evaluation below for details).

Outcome area Customer result Priority activities Key Performance Indicator/s
1. Building an accessible transport network Physical barriers that prevent customers from accessing public transport are removed Design standards and guidelines

 

Roll-out of the Transport Access Program

Percentage of customers with a disability who are satisfied with the ease of boarding

 

Annual increase in percentage compliance with DDA Transport Standards

2. Reducing transport disadvantage Transport disadvantaged customers with disability who are unable to use public transport are provided affordable travel and services Policies to increase transport access and reduce disadvantage

 

Optimise results from community transport services

Evaluate Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme

Percentage of customers with a disability not able to or who experience frequent difficulty in accessing transport services
3. Improving the journey experience of people with disability Customers can access information throughout their journey and receive a high standard of service, including boarding assistance Staff training and customer service improvements

 

Accessible journey planning information

Initiatives to provide access to customer information and wayfinding during the journey

Numbers of frontline staff who undergo customer service training and meet learning outcomes

 

Percentage of customers with a disability who are satisfied with the helpfulness of staff at the station/stop/wharf in resolving accessibility issues

Percentage of customers with a disability who are satisfied with accessibility of customer information and wayfinding during the journey

Annual increase in percentage compliance with DDA Transport Standards

4. Enhancing customer insight and engagement of people with disability or limited mobility Decisions are informed by what customers with disability want Access advisory panels

 

Mystery shopper surveys

Accessible Transport Advisory Committee

Number of consultations and surveys conducted annually

 

Accessible Transport Advisory Committee meets 4 times each year

5. Supporting accessibility through partnerships Customers receive the maximum benefit from transport access improvements by encouraging non-transport partners to deliver complementary accessible services Working with local government to improve accessibility of stations, interchanges, bus stops and wharves 100% of major station upgrades and interchange works include a precinct plan for access.
6. Increasing employment opportunities for people with disability in Transport for NSW agencies Transport for NSW is an employer of choice for people with disability Proactive employment strategies

 

Building organisational capacity through training and support

At least 1.5 per cent of workforce are people with a disability who need workplace adjustment

Delivery, monitoring and evaluation

The Policy and Regulation Division of Transport for NSW will monitor and assist with implementation of the various actions in the plan.

Each of the operating agencies will have an implementation plan, setting out how it will achieve relevant actions in the Disability Action Plan.

A Project Control Group comprising members from all Transport for NSW Divisions and operating agencies will work on delivery of actions requiring a whole of agency approach and will monitor implementation of the Disability Action. Using reports prepared by Policy and Regulation, this group will meet quarterly to assess progress of each action in the plan, and to review the effectiveness of the actions in improving outcomes for customers with disability or limited mobility.

Reports on implementation progress will be provided to the Accessible Transport Advisory Committee which will have an ongoing role in identifying barriers for people with disability face in accessing transport services and areas where implementation progress might be improved.

Progress on implementing the Disability Action Plan will be reviewed and reported annually in the Transport for NSW Annual Report.

A renewed Disability Action Plan will be completed every five years, with the next update to be released prior to December 2017.

Appendix 1 - Relevant legislation and standards

The following sections provide an overview of legislation which impacts on the provision of transport services. The Disability Action Plan 2012-2017 will assist Transport for NSW to meet these legislative requirements.

Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW)

The NSW Anti-Discrimination Act (1977) outlaws discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, marital status, homosexuality, age, disability, transgender and carer's responsibility. Areas covered by this Act include:

  • Employment and employment agencies
  • Partnerships
  • Trade unions
  • Education and qualifying bodies Access to places and vehicles
  • Provision of goods and services
  • Accommodation, and
  • Registered clubs.

The NSW Anti-Discrimination Board (ADB) deals with written discrimination complaints. The complaints process includes assessment, investigation, and conciliation.

If conciliation fails, the ADB refers complaints to the Equal Opportunity Tribunal for hearing and legally enforceable determination.

Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Commonwealth)

The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) seeks to eliminate discrimination against people with disability. Commonwealth, State and Territory departments and agencies and local government authorities have responsibilities under the DDA.

The objects of the DDA are:

  • to eliminate discrimination, as far as possible, on the grounds of disability in areas of work, accommodation, education, access to premises, clubs and sport, the provision of goods, services and facilities, existing laws and the administration of Commonwealth laws and programs
  • to ensure, as far as practicable, that people with disability have the same rights to equality before the law as the rest of the community, and
  • to promote recognition and acceptance within the community of the principle that people with disability have the same fundamental rights as the rest of the community.

The DDA does not require the development of action plans by service providers, however if action plans are developed, Section 61 specifies that Action Plans must include provisions relating to:

  • the devising of policies and programs to achieve the objects of the Act
  • the communication of these policies and programs to employees within the service provider
  • the review of practices within the service provider with a view to the identification of any discriminatory practices
  • the setting of goals and targets, where these may reasonably be determined against which the success of the plan in achieving the objects of the Act may be assessed, and
  • evaluation of the policies and programs included in the Plan and the appointment of persons within the service provider to implement the Action Plan.

Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards)

The Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards) were made under the DDA and provide a framework to enable public transport service and infrastructure providers to remove discrimination from public transport services.

The Transport Standards incorporate Australian Standards, Australian/New Zealand Standards, and Australian Design Rules, and specify the minimum technical requirements acceptable for the provision of accessible public transport for public transport vehicles, stations, bus stops, transport interchanges and wharves.

The purpose of the Transport Standards is to enable public transport service and infrastructure providers to remove discrimination from public transport services. The Transport Standards specify what is required to make public transport accessible and are intended to apply to the widest possible range of people with disability.

They prescribe physical standards for the built environment so that people with disability can have access to public transport services equivalent to the public in general. The Transport Standards also include concepts of amenity, availability, comfort, convenience, dignity, cost, and safety as features of transport to be taken into account in determining equivalence. The Transport Standards prescribe an incremental timetable for implementation. Under the Transport Standards public transport services and infrastructure, excepting trains which have a compliance target of 2032, should be fully accessible by 2022, and a timeframe with interim compliance goals is set with target dates of (2007), 2012, and 2017.

Equivalent Access

The Transport Standards recognise there may be instances where operators need to provide 'equivalent access' so that a person with a disability can use transport services. This is compliance by providing methods, equipment or facilities that provide alternative means of access with equivalent amenity, availability, comfort, convenience, dignity, price and safety as those methods specified in the Standards.

This may include operators or providers offering direct access assistance to passengers. However, this does not include the provision of separate or 'parallel' services.

Australian Human Rights Commission

If a customer believes that an operator or provider has breached the Standards, they can lodge a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). The Commission has the power to investigate and attempt to conciliate complaints of disability discrimination. If the conciliation is unsuccessful, they may commence legal proceedings in the Federal Magistrates Court or the Federal Court. The Australian Human Rights Commission's website provides information on how to lodge a complaint.

Unjustifiable hardship

Not all discrimination is unlawful. The DDA states that discrimination will not be unlawful where the elimination of all differential treatment would impose an 'unjustifiable hardship' on service providers.

The Transport Standards have identified timeframes for the introduction of accessible services and this has provided a measure of financial certainty for Government and operators regarding the future cost of implementation.

'Unjustifiable hardship' may only be used as a defence against a complaint and not as a means of obtaining prior exemption. NSW acknowledges the need to apply the concept in particular and exceptional circumstances only. As indicated in the Transport Standards, compliance should be achieved to the maximum extent not incurring unjustifiable hardship.

Factors that a court is to consider when assessing whether unjustifiable hardship exists include:

  • the cost of meeting the Transport Standards
  • exceptional operational, technical or geographic factors
  • resources reasonably available
  • likely benefits or detriment of compliance
  • action plans developed
  • consultations involving people with disability, and
  • good faith efforts to comply.

Exemptions

Under section 33(A1) of the Transport Standards, an operator of public transport or a provider of public transport infrastructure may apply to the AHRC for temporary exemptions from compliance with some or all of the Standards. An exemption or a further exemption (from compliance with the same requirements as the exemption) must not be granted for a period of more than 5 years. Operators and providers who are granted exemptions must fully comply with the Transport Standards following the exemption period.

The AHRC has granted a number of temporary exemptions to the Australasian Railways Association of which RailCorp is a member. Details of the exemptions which apply until 31 December 2013 can be found the AHRC website
http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/exemptions/ara/dec.htm

Disability Access to Premises Standards 2010

The Disability (Access to Premises - Buildings) Standards 2010 provides design standards to assist public transport service and infrastructure providers to meet their obligations under the DDA. The instrument is intended to:

  • ensure that dignified, equitable, cost-effective and reasonably achievable access to buildings, and facilities and services within buildings, is provided for people with disability,
  • give certainty to building certifiers, building developers and building managers that, if access to buildings is provided in accordance with these Standards, the provision of that access, to the extent covered by these Standards, will not be unlawful under the Act.

Part 2 of the Standard set performance requirements for public transport buildings that are consistent with compliance targets set in the Transport Standards.

The Disability Services Act 1993 (NSW)

The NSW Disability Services Act 1993 (DSA) aims to ensure the provision of services which:

  • enable people with disability to achieve their maximum potential as members of the community
  • further the integration of people with disability into the community
  • complement services available generally to people with disability in the community
  • enable people with disability to become more independent, have employment opportunities and integration in the community
  • promote a positive image of people with disability and enhance their
    self-esteem.

Under section 9 of the DSA, all NSW Government agencies listed in Schedule 1 Parts 1 and 2 of the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002 are required to prepare a Disability Action Plan. The DSA covers all services, whether or not they are provided predominately for people with disability.

Section 9 of the DSA requires NSW Government agencies to:

  • prepare a Disability Action Plan showing how they propose to meet the needs of people with disability
  • periodically review and report on their progress in implementing the plan
  • make the plan, and any subsequent amendments, available to the public.

While the frequency of reporting is not specified in the DSA, the NSW Annual Reports (Statutory Bodies) Regulation 1995 requires agencies to report on implementation of disability action plans in each annual report.

Appendix 2 - Policy frameworks

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2008

Australia ratified the Convention on 17 July 2008, making it one of the first Western countries to do so. By ratifying the Convention, Australia has joined other countries around the world in a global effort to promote the equal and active participation of all people with disability.

The purpose of the Convention is to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity. Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

More details can be found at:
http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml.

National Disability Strategy

The National Disability Strategy is part of a cooperative approach by Australian governments to supporting Australians with disabilities. The strategy was developed in partnership with all Australian states and territories and gives effect to Australia's obligations as a signatory to the UN Convention.

A key policy direction under the National Disability Strategy is a "public, private and community transport system that is accessible for the whole community". NSW Government agencies have worked with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (Ageing Disability and Home Care) to develop a NSW Implementation Plan 2012-2014. Actions included in this Disability Action Plan reflect the broad strategies included in the NSW Implementation Plan.

Given the importance of mobility to all other social participation outcomes for people with disability, the National Disability Strategy signals the Commonwealth's intention to monitor adherence to and evaluate the effectiveness of the Transport Standards, and to improve the accessibility of reports.

More details can be found at:
http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/disability-and-carers/publications-articles/policy-research/national-disability-strategy-2010-2020.

NSW Ageing Strategy

This Disability Action Plan also supports the NSW Ageing Strategy, an initiative of NSW 2021 the Government's plan for NSW.

The NSW Ageing Strategy describes how the NSW Government will ensure that seniors lead active and rewarding lives and are valued members of the community; adults make decisions that support their independence and wellbeing later in life; and NSW responds effectively to the challenges and opportunities of population ageing.

The NSW Ageing Strategy includes initiatives to ensure that public and private transport services are accessible to older people, pedestrian and road safety of older people is improved, and the transition of older people from drivers to non-drivers is better managed.

More details can be found at:
http://www.adhc.nsw.gov.au/about_us/strategies/nsw_ageing_strategy

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