Inclusion on the Move: Making NSW Buses Accessible for All
CID member Anthony went to the NSW Bus Taskforce consultation in Parramatta. Anthony was asked how to improve accessible bus services across Sydney.
This consultation was a chance to communicate concerns and recommendations. It shows the importance of involving people with disability in policy-making.
Anthony shared his ideas with Assistant Transport Minister Marjorie O’Neill MP and local MP Donna Davis.
“Buses are more than just taking you from A to B; they’re our ticket to the community, to friends, and to the world. That’s why I jumped at the chance to go to the NSW Bus Taskforce Consultation in Parramatta.”
Here are the main issues Anthony raised at the consultation.
Confusing changes to Bus Stands
One of the first issues Anthony raised was the change from bus stand numbers to letters without consultation. For example they changed bus stand 6 to bus stand F. It might seem like a small change, but this change make it confusing for some people with intellectual disability, especially if there is no accessible information about the change.
If decision makers had spoken to people with intellectual disability from the start, they could have made different choices. Those choices could have made the bus interchange easier for everyone to use.
Limited Services in Western Sydney
It is no secret that the residents of Western Sydney often feel like they are at the bottom of the priority list when it comes to public transport. Having fewer bus options available limits their opportunities to access the community.
Information about bus times is often not accessible. This means that having fewer services has an even bigger impact on people with intellectual disability.
Better training for bus drivers
Anthony spoke about how some bus drivers won’t lower the ramp on the bus because someone doesn’t “look” disabled enough. Just because someone doesn’t “look” disabled doesn’t mean they don’t need a ramp.
Anthony wants to see the bus drivers better trained in disability awareness.
Next stop announcements
Anthony said that “next stop” announcements on buses aren’t always turned on. Newer buses have a screen that can display and announce the next stop but this is rarely turned on. These announcements make a big difference and need to be on all the time.
Consult us from the start
“If you want to make transport better for people with disability, why not ask us from the beginning?”
It is important to talk to people with disability right from the beginning.
This is not just about ticking boxes. It’s about making transport inclusive and accessible for everyone.
Anthony said that it also saves the government money because they won’t then need to go back and fix things.
What CID is doing
Accessible and inclusive transport is a right, not just a service, for all people. Attending the NSW Bus Taskforce consultation was a great way to share issues and recommendations to make bus services in Sydney better for people with intellectual disability.
While there have been some good changes in making bus services more accessible, there is still more to do. CID regularly gives advice to the NSW Government as part of the NSW Transport Accessible Transport Advisory Committee.
We will also continue to raise issues about transport with politicians at the state and federal level.
Together, by talking and listening to each other, we can keep making bus travel better for people with intellectual disability.