Contributed by Brian Caccianiga
V/Lines accessibility Action Plan has been in motion now for the past 3 years with the most recent annual Forum on Dec 3rd 2015. This is the second year I have attended.
The AAP 2015-2018 was developed to lead the business in taking meaningful steps to improve accessibility to V/Line services over the next 3 years in support of the objectives outlined in the Federal Disability Act 1992 (DDA)
Since beginning in 2012 where the V/Line AAP began rolling out Scope’s See the Person disability awareness training to frontline staff we have seen a considerable positive impact on a customer’s journey. This training is tailored to common issues facing customers with disabilities, using V/Line services.
A few examples of achievements we now see. Station staff and conductor announcement scripts. Script booklets were provided to staff in 2013 to ensure consistent messaging for customers, this includes suggested language and highlights the importance of providing announcements for customers with a visual impairment. Other achievement: Accessibility guide, partnership with Travellers Aid, Communications Access Symbol accreditation. Community Accessibility Forum, Permanent allocated space on coaches, designated waiting areas on platforms and station upgrades. These are just a few of the improvements undertaken over the past 3 years.
As much as these improvements have enhanced the quality of a journey, at the forum it was very obvious that travellers were demanding further improvements in communications, in particular with the call centres, accuracy of visual and audio signage, and implementing software so that up to date schedules and journey planning could be accessed via an app on a smartphone.
Discussion was also held about the continual lack of accessible train carriages, especially on the longer trips. This needs to be improved as a passenger should not have to travel in a taxi when they would prefer to travel by train.
The 4 priorities and actions planned by AAP over the 2015-2018 period are 1. Customer Service. 2. Consultation and community management. 3. Access to public transport. 4. Access to facilities.
All in all a very informative day for all and certainly we are seeing improvements. However, there is still more to be done and V/Line were certainly given more objectives to consider, reach and achieve as part of their AAP.
For further information, feedback or regular updates visit ptv.vic.gov.au or call 1800 800 007.