Are bus companies meeting disability standards?

The Federal Court judgment against Murrays Australia Ltd raises questions about the extent of a transport operator’s obligations under the National Disability Transport Standards.

The Disability Standards were introduced in 2002. They apply to ferries, buses, coaches, planes, trains, trams and taxis. They are there to ensure that wheelchair users and other people with disability can board a bus or any other form of public transport safely and with dignity, like everyone else. 

Public transport operators have had plenty of time to meet these standards, and a staggered introduction was seen as the best way to minimise the costs and inconvenience to operators.

In relation to public transport services:

  • Bus operators such as Murrays Australia had until 2007 to modify at least 25% of their existing fleet, and until the end of 2012 to modify at least 55%;
  • All newly purchased vehicles have to be wheelchair accessible;
  • An operator’s entire fleet has to be accessible by 2022. 

Read more about recent litigation and public transport providers.

Related stories:

Disabled woman wins bus battle, Canberra Times, 15 March 2013

Australia could be up before UN for failing to uphold disability rights, ABC AM, 15 March 2013

Media contact: PIAC Senior Media & Communications Adviser, Dominic O’Grady: 0478 739 280

Photo:Flickr.

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