This Plan is based on a set of guiding principles which determine Transport for NSW’s approach to service provision and affirm its commitment to making NSW a better place to live and work. These principles are outlined below.
A ‘customer first’ culture
The customer is at the centre of everything we do. Transport for NSW recognises the rights of people with disability to participate in communities to the fullest extent possible and the importance of accessible and inclusive transport services to people with disability.
A ‘customer first’ culture within Transport for NSW will deliver a high level of service for all customers, openness to innovation and striving towards best practice in the delivery of accessible services, information and infrastructure.
Access for the entire community
Improvements to the accessibility and inclusiveness of transport services benefit all users, not just people with disability who rely on accessible transport.
Accessibility can be achieved through the adoption of universal design principles that remove physical barriers to access and create buildings, products and environments that are usable by people of all abilities.
Broad accessibility principles must, however, include more than just physical access to premises and conveyances. Universal design requires that transport services also provide barrier-free access for people who have vision, hearing or cognitive impairments.
‘Intelligent compliance’ means compliance which prioritises customer-focused outcomes over a narrow focus on legal compliance with accessibility standards.
As well as being compliant, infrastructure should be practical, usable, fit for purpose and convenient.
Encouraging industry partners to think critically about the application of standards and find common sense solutions to compliance matters will result in better outcomes for people with disability.
Whole of journey accessibility
An accessible transport system can be thought of as a series of linked transport systems and services. It involves barrier-free access to:
- The pedestrian environment.
- The different modes of transport.
- The road network.
Many people with disability and older people will use all three parts of the system: either as public transport users, drivers or passengers in cars, or as pedestrians.
Accessible transport needs to provide for whole of journey accessibility, including seamless transfers between the modes that form a continuous journey. For example, a typical journey might involve looking up timetable information, travelling to a bus stop, waiting, getting on and off the bus, walking to your destination or taking another transport service. Such a journey is only fully accessible if journey planning information and the connection and integration between each part of the journey are easy and safe.
In the past, each mode of transport worked towards achieving targets for accessible transport independently. Under Transport for NSW, the focus has shifted to ensuring customers are able to easily plan and undertake a fully accessible journey.
A fundamental change is the Transport Access Program, which brings together a number of programs to provide commuters with improved accessibility to transport services, to increase connectivity between transport modes and provide improved safety and amenity for all passengers.
Most journeys begin and end with a pedestrian link. For this reason, Transport for NSW is working with councils to achieve improvements to bus stop infrastructure and footpaths. In this way, passengers obtain the full benefits of the investment in accessible public transport vehicles and stations.
Independent access to public transport is the ultimate goal of Transport for NSW.
However, the use of ‘direct assistance’ or ‘equivalent access’ on train stations and ferry wharves will be necessary for at least the next ten years. Existing rail infrastructure and tidal variations at commuter ferry wharves are incompatible with completely independent access.
A high level of commitment to customer service is a key priority of the Plan. Staff training will help to ensure that the dignity and rights of people with disability are respected.
Transport for NSW is improving information for people with disability at public transport facilities and on-board services. However, in some circumstances, the provision of information by staff using ‘direct assistance’ may be necessary, particularly when normal service provision is disrupted and information needs to be changed continuously and within short timeframes.
Reduction in transport disadvantage
Transport for NSW recognises the significant transport disadvantage faced by people with disability. Transport disadvantage may arise from a number of factors including poor access to services, low income, geographical isolation, high cost of alternative transport services such as taxis and modified private vehicles, lack of confidence and poor community attitudes towards people with disability.
Reducing transport disadvantage requires a multi-faceted approach, making services affordable and providing support services for people with disability who are unable to use mass transit public transport services.
Engagement of people with disability
Customer satisfaction is a key performance indicator for the Plan. Transport for NSW will ensure that people with disability are able to participate in community-wide customer feedback processes.
Transport for NSW will continue to work with the ATAC and customers with disability to identify access solutions that will deliver better services for all customers.
Transport for NSW recognises the vital importance of informing our customers about accessible transport improvements across the network and in their local communities. Transport for NSW will work with advocates to identify access solutions and develop targeted strategies to provide information about access improvements for all customers.
Innovative solutions to accessibility
Transport for NSW is committed to developing innovative and practical solutions aimed at reducing or minimising transport disadvantage for people with disability.
Assistive technology devices and services have always been crucial to overcoming barriers for people with disability. As technology advances, Transport for NSW will continue to identify opportunities to harness the power of technology to improve accessibility for all our customers.
Transport for NSW will foster a culture of openness to innovation and change, looking interstate and abroad for best practice approaches to accessibility. Transport for NSW will also strive to be a leader in engineering creative solutions.