Creating communication accessible public transport services for everyone, everywhere, everyday
Presenter: Georgia Burn, Communication Access Coordinator, Scope
By the end of 2019, five components of public transport services in Melbourne, Victoria, will be accredited with the Communication Access Symbol. This means that every passenger, including people with communication disabilities, can communicate with trained staff when travelling around Melbourne and Victoria. Historically, the accessibility of public transport has focused predominantly on physical access. However, making transport services accessible and inclusive not only includes making the physical and built environment accessible, but true inclusion also involves creating services that consider and accommodate the social environment as well. “Communication access occurs when people are respectful and responsive to individuals with communication disabilities, and when strategies and resources are used to support successful communication” (Solarsh et al, 2013). The Communication Access Symbol was launched in 2011 and aims to award businesses who have undergone an accreditation process in order to improve their customer service with customers who have a communication disability.
In Melbourne, Australia, the governing body that oversees public transport is the Department of Transport; with a range of contracted operators connecting passengers to the community across train, tram and bus networks. Several operators, including V/Line regional rail, Public Transport Victoria (PTV) call centre, five PTV hubs, Yarra Trams and Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) have all recognised the importance of communication access and engaged in the Communication Access Symbol accreditation process. This presentation will describe the communication access journey for these public transport providers, and present case studies on the communication access movement that is occurring more broadly.