Making public transport more accessible for people with disability

Posted 4 weeks ago by Georgie Waters
Using public transport is now set to become easier for people living with disability with changes established through government reform. [Source: Shutterstock]
Using public transport is now set to become easier for people living with disability with changes established through government reform. [Source: Shutterstock]

Updates to the Disability Transport Standards have been announced

Key points

With new reforms for the Disability Transport Standards recently announced by the government, the improvements are expected to increase the accessibility of public transport for people with disability. 

Research suggests that using public transport causes difficulty for around 16 percent of Australians over the age of 15 living with disability. In Australia, around 4.4 million people report living with disability, indicating that a significant number of people are affected by inaccessible public transport options.

While the Disability Transport Standards were formed over 20 years ago, this is the first time that modifications will be made to ease the use of public transport for people with disability. 

According to the government, information such as public transport timetables and route updates will be made available in numerous accessible formats. 

Portable boarding ramps used on transport such as trains will be required to include vertical edge barriers to ensure the safety of those using them. This can include people in wheelchairs or people using mobility aids.

To ensure smooth journeys on all public transport options, the changes will also include improvement of onboard information through the use of audio announcements and signage.

Not only will these reforms benefit people using trains and buses, but the government is looking to increase ‘the ratio of accessible taxi rank spaces available for use by wheelchair accessible taxis’.

However, as train and tram carriages have a longer lifespan than other forms of public transport infrastructure, ensuring that all rail transport is fully accessible may not be finalised until 2032.

Although the extensive consultation process to approve changes to the Disability Transport Standards, information about when these changes will be mandatory is yet to be established. 

However, with the help of Disability Support Guide, you can learn more about the best ways to use public transport in your city. The guide to accessible public transport across Australia provides comprehensive guidance for locals and people travelling interstate who live with disability. 

For people living with disabilities, driving isn’t always an option and it can be difficult to get from one place to another, especially if you rely solely on public transport.

Understanding public transport in a new city can be quite confusing, and it may not always be clear if it is accessible enough to suit your needs. 

With more accessible transport options becoming available, Australians living with disability may find it easier to access health services, visit friends and family and enjoy a greater quality of life. 

To learn more about the changes and details established through the extensive government discussions, you can read the full review of the 2022 Transport Standards or watch the webinar online.


Do you currently use public transport while living with disability? What are your thoughts on the new changes?

Let the team at Talking Disability know on social media. 

For more information related to disability news, subscribe to the FREE weekly newsletter

Relevant content:

World Down Syndrome Day: a celebration of life

Extreme heat affects everyone, but it does discriminate

Sunflower lanyards are brightening the way for people with disability