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Disability Standards

Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport

Background

The Tasmanian Government is committed to promoting inclusiveness, enhanced community participation and the reduction of barriers for people with a disability. This commitment is exemplified in the Disability Framework for Action 2005-2010, which is a whole of government policy requiring that the needs of people with disabilities are considered in the design and delivery of all Government policies, programs, services and facilities. The oversight of the implementation of the Disability Framework for Action resides with the Premier with the assistance of the Premier's Disability Advisory Council (PDAC). The PDAC also acts as a reference group to provide advice to Government on policy, programs, services and standards that impact on people with a disability.

The Framework for Action commits the Tasmanian Government to increasing the accessible passenger transport options through:

  • continued commitment to the Transport Standards for Public Passenger Transport 2002 (Transport Standards);
  • continued implementation of the wheelchair accessible taxi initiative;
  • continued funding of the Transport Access Scheme;
  • working with the Australian Government, local government and the Tasmanian industry to assist bus and coach operators meet their obligations under the Transport Standards;
  • improving the access and mobility of people living in Tasmania's rural and regional communities; and
  • ensuring that the Government's review of core passenger services considers issues relating to the provision of accessible services.

The Transport Standards for Public Passenger Transport 2002 has progressive targets to be reached by operators and providers of public passenger transport services and infrastructure. The Tasmanian public transport industry has made significant progress towards achieving the 31 December 2007 targets.

Overview of progress

Wheel Chair Accessible Taxis

The Tasmanian Government enacted the legislation to create the Wheelchair Accessible Taxi (WAT) Scheme in 2004. The legislation provided for the issue of WAT Licences across Tasmania. The introduction of WATs has resulted in a transition from the parallel service offered by the previous Special Purpose Cab scheme to services equivalent to those offered by standard taxis.

Wheelchair Taxi

In an effort to ensure that passengers with disabilities were satisfied with the level of service they were receiving under the WAT scheme the Commission for Transport initiated an investigation by an independent consultant in 2005 to evaluate WAT service in Tasmania. The consultants interviewed user groups and determined that there was a high level of satisfaction with virtually all dimensions of the service. However, the investigation determined that whilst response times have continued to improve, they were not equivalent to response times for standard taxis. As a result, the Commission for Transport has recently made additional licences available that will be issued through a ballot process in late 2006.

The current number of WATs operating in Tasmania is as follows:

Location

Number of licences

Hobart

21

Launceston

9

Burnie

1

Devonport

1

The Commission for Transport has recently made the following additional WAT licences available for issue:

Location

Number of licences

Hobart

9

Launceston

5

Burnie

2

Devonport

2

Taxi Driver Training

Since inception of the WAT scheme all WAT drivers have been required to undertake training to ensure they can provide a safe and high level of service for passengers with disabilities.

In August 2006 the Tasmanian Government increased the scope of training by implementing a new training program for the carriage of passengers with disabilities. This course not only replaces the previous WAT training course, but also is a prerequisite for any new taxi driver, irrespective of whether they intend to drive WAT vehicles or standard taxis.

Metropolitan Bus Services

The Tasmanian Government has specified in all contracts for the provision of metropolitan bus services that operators submit an action plan to HREOC. Consequently, both Metro Tasmania Pty Ltd and Merseylink have registered action plans with HREOC.

Metro Tasmania operates services in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie and currently has a fleet of 38 accessible buses distributed across its areas of operation (as detailed in the table below). Metro's current fleet of vehicles already satisfies the requirement of 25 percent of services being accessible by December 2007. However, to ensure Metro Tasmania continues to provide the community with the best service possible, it has ordered five more accessible buses that should be in operation by March 2007.

Metro Bus

Merseylink operates services in Devonport and has a total fleet of eleven buses. Three of its fleet are currently accessible and Merseylink is currently in the process of replacing 2 of its buses with accessible vehicles.

Location

Number of Accessible Buses

Hobart

29

Launceston

6

Burnie

3

Devonport

3

Bus Stops

The Tasmanian Government has engaged a consultant to undertake an investigation into the accessibility of the State's metropolitan bus stops. This consultancy has reviewed recent bus stop upgrades undertaken by operators and councils. The consultancy has also provided detailed specifications for accessible bus stops and will assist in identifying bus stops that are a priority for future upgrade works.

Regional Bus Services

The Tasmanian Bus Association (TBA) is currently developing an action plan that will instigate practices that will allow regional bus services across Tasmanian to provide accessible services.

Concessions Fares for Public Transport

Tasmania has the following transport concessions and programs which, depending on an individual's circumstances, may be applicable to persons with a disability.
Taxis

The following passengers are entitled to a 50% fare reduction under the Tasmanian Access Scheme (TAS) when travelling in a standard taxi:

  • Holders of Pensioner Concession Cards
  • Health Care Cards or Commonwealth Seniors Health Cards issued by Centrelink
  • Pensioner Concession Card issued by Department of Vetrans Affairs

A maximum concession of a $25.00 per journey applies.

Members of TAS who are wheelchair reliant are entitled to a 60% fare reduction when travelling in a wheelchair accessible taxi. Applicants who are wheelchair reliant are not required to submit a copy of a pensioner concession or health care card when applying for taxi concessions.

A maximum concession of $30.00 applies for wheelchair reliant members of TAS when using a wheelchair accessible taxi.

Metropolitan Buses

The concession fare for travel on Metropolitan buses is $1.70 on a single journey (unlimited distance).

The following passengers are eligible for a Concession Fare:

  • Holders of Health Care Cards
  • Holders of Health Benefits Cards
  • Holders of Centrelink or Veterans Affairs Pensioner Cards
  • Persons aged 70 or over; and
  • Persons who are classified as War Widows by Veterans Affairs

The following Passengers are entitled to free travel:

  • Persons with visual impairment displaying a valid pass plus their assistant and/or guide dog.
  • World War One veterans and spouses
  • TPI pensioners
  • EDA pensioners

Regional Buses

The following passengers are entitled to a 50% concession:

  • Pensioners presenting a Commonwealth Centrelink issued identification card
  • Persons with vision impairment presenting a valid Travel Pass issued by the Commission for Transport plus mobility instructor.

Passengers presenting a valid Australian States Senior's card are entitled to a concession of upto 20%.

Mobility Aids Brochure

The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources (DIER) has printed 10,000 copies of the Accessible Public Transport National Advisory Committee (APTNAC) Brochure entitled 'Safer Travel for Passengers using Mobility Aids on Public Transport' and has commenced distribution throughout the State via Service Tasmania outlets and Metrotas Pty Ltd. DIER intends to expand distribution in the near future by mailing the brochures to members of the Transport Access Scheme.