Today, 3 December is International Day of People with Disability and Auckland Transport (AT) acknowledges its ongoing work to make Tāmaki Makaurau’s transport network easier for everyone.
The AT Board approved the first plan, 2020-2022 Accessibility Action Plan, at its board meeting last December. The aim of the plan is to ensure that AT provides a transport system that caters to all members of the community.
Version two of the plan 2021-2023 is now available, with a refreshed list of goals for the next three years approved by the AT Board this week.
Andrew McGill, AT’s Head of Integrated Network Planning, says this year has been a successful year for the plan as audio on public transport started its rollout.
“Audio capacity announcements for trains have been added at all stations – so customers now receive a verbal notification about capacity constraints prior to boardings, when patronage exceeds a certain level. New Zealand Sign Language will be investigated under the Audio On Buses project.
“AT is now investigating a further rollout of audio announcement on buses. Tenders for the rollout have been received and are being reviewed. A test phase will begin soon.”
Mr McGill says the AT Journey Planner audit was completed and the system is now easier to use.
Continued funding of fare discounts on Total Mobility services has provided an alternative mode of travel for people who cannot easily access public transport. A review and revamp of the Total Mobility website has been completed, to digitise information.
As part of AT’s commitment to catering for all its customers, two advocacy interaction groups exist - Public Transport Accessibility Group (PTAG) and Capital Projects Accessibility Group (CPAG) - to enable interaction between AT and various accessibility groups, as well as ensuring the groups have early involvement in proposals and projects. AT co-designed the Accessibility Action Plan with these groups. In 2020, a refresh of membership was completed with new members added and trialling of New Zealand Sign Language interpreters has started.
Vivian Naylor, member of CCS Disability Action Auckland Inc, says as a longstanding member of both PTAG and CPAG, she really values the increasing level of commitment AT is showing towards the disabled community and the progress made.
“Our suggestions for improvements to public transport and infrastructure benefits all passengers,” she says.
John Mulka, Blind Low Vision Chief Executive, congratulates Auckland Transport on its Accessibility Action Plan.
“We applaud the plan which gives priority to making the transport system more accessible over time,” Mr Mulka says.
“This will especially benefit people who are blind, deafblind or who have low vision; and all passengers with access needs. That’s the right thing to do and the smart thing to do for Auckland.”
A policy paper to assist with additional wheelchair accessible vehicles is now going through the procurement process, with grants expected soon.
By implementing the Action Plan over the next three years, 99 per cent of public transport vehicles should be accessible - with an increased range of first and last leg options in place. Major interchanges, ferry terminals and train stations will be constructed to incorporate full accessibility.
Mr McGill says he would like to see audits of the transport system to provide details of gaps in accessibility on the network.
“Increased engagement with our advocacy groups will lead to fewer issues being identified late in the delivery process.”
Find out more information and accessible content – including an audio version of the plan.