ACT Chief Minister and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Katy Gallagher, today announced that a three-month trial of bus hailing kits to improve accessibility to bus services for vision impaired passengers has begun.
“The ACT Government is committed to improving accessibility and making it easier for people with disabilities to use public transport,” the Chief Minister said.
“The bus hailing kit is a pocket-sized set of numbered cards that are printed with large-text and Braille numbers designed for use by visually-impaired people to help signal the bus route they wish to board.
“The kits come with a clear plastic pouch that has three slots in which to place the desired route number. The inserts that are used are in large print to help customers and drivers see them easily.
“A customer waiting at the bus stop will hold the kit at shoulder height to signal to the driver that they need to catch the route indicated by the hailing kit,” the Chief Minister said.
The bus hailing kits have been supplied by the public transport provider, Transpo, in the city of Ottawa, Canada. Vision Australia and Guide Dogs ACT will continue to be consulted during the trial to assist in the development and implementation of the kits.
Trial participants will be asked to provide feedback on ease of use, functionality, size, convenience, Braille legibility, driver response and night-time usage. Factors observed by trial participants will be noted and used to improve the kits prior to the implementation.
“This service is ideal for when a customer is waiting at a stop where multiple routes stop, such as Cohen Street, Alinga Street and Northbourne Avenue,” the Chief Minister said.
“The ACT Government is working hard to make bus travel more accessible and the recently released draft Transport for Canberra strategy outlines the goal of getting 23% of Canberrans to use public transport, walk or cycle to get to and from work by 2016
“In addition to the bus hailing kit trial, a project is also currently underway to upgrade 300 bus stops across Canberra to improve accessibility for people with disabilities. These improvements complement the $75.5 million fleet replacement program which will see ACTION meet its interim 2012 Disability Discrimination Act requirements,” the Chief Minister concluded.
The trial commenced on Thursday 29th March. For more information on the bus hailing kits, or to become involved in the trial, please contact ACTION on 13 17 10, but places are limited.