ACTION has been awarded the Vision Australia Making a Difference Award in recognition of the continuing work to improve the accessibility of ACTION buses for vision impaired riders.

“We’re pleased to see ACTION’s accessibility services recognised through the Making a  Difference Award,” James Roncon, Director of ACTION said.

“In 2012, there were 39,681 boardings by vision impaired riders. This number highlights the importance of ACTION to continually invest in ways to make catching the bus easier.

“We’re in the process of producing bus hailing kits for vision impaired riders. The kits consist of a pocket sized set of numbered cards that are printed with large text and Braille numbers to help signal the bus route they wish to board.

“A customer waiting at the bus stop will hold the relevant bus number at shoulder height to signal to the driver which route they need to take. This is particularly useful in key corridors where multiple routes pass a particular stop.

“The bus hailing kits were trialled during 2012 and were in high demand with riders. We’ve taken feedback from the trial participants, ACTION operational staff, drivers and Vision Australia and we are now making refinements to the kits, including embossed lettering in addition to Braille.

“ACTION also operates a pre-booking system which allows riders with disability to call ACTION on 13 17 10 ahead of time to inform us of their intention to catch a particular bus.

“By giving at least 30 minutes notice and identifying when and where they intend to catch the bus from, our drivers know to stop for these riders without the need of being signalled.”

Mr Roncon said the Accessible Public Transport Group (APTG) will continue to find ways for ACTION to lead the way in accessible transport in Canberra.

“The APTG is made up of special interest groups within the community and meets every second month to find ways for ACTION to assist and encourage people with disability to use ACTION bus services,” Mr Roncon said.

To make its information accessible to all, ACTION’s timetables are also available in large print, Braille and audio by request.