How accessible is NSW public transport?

Representatives from
peak disability organisations met at PIAC today to discuss accessible public

PIAC senior solicitors,
Michelle Cohen and Camilla Pandolfini, outlined the
findings and implications of two recent judgments involving PIAC clients,
Graeme Innes (pictured) and Julia Haraksin.

In Innes
v RailCorp NSW
and Haraksin
v Murray Australia Limited
, the
Federal Magistrates Court and the Federal Court respectively ruled that public
transport providers had discriminated against PIAC’s clients.

Mr Innes, who is blind, successfully sued RailCorp
for failing to provide audible ‘next stop’ announcements on trains.

Haraksin, who uses a wheelchair, successfully sued bus company, Murrays Australia
, for its refusal to accept a booking from her for a bus trip between Sydney
and Canberra.

meeting discussed the work that disability organisations are doing on
accessibility of public transport.

sought advice from these organisations on the key issues and barriers to accessible
public transport. PIAC will use insights from today’s meeting to inform
its submissions to the current review of the Disability Standards for
Accessible Public Transport 2002

The Disability
Standards provide some guidance to public transport operators regarding the
requirements of the Disability
Discrimination Act 1992

However, the
Standards rely on individuals to identify breaches and then bring a complaint to
the Australian Human Rights Commission. There is no independent regulator to
monitor compliance with the Standards, nor are public transport operators
required to report on their compliance with the Standards. This approach fails
to provide an effective incentive for operators to implement the Standards, and
does not promote systemic change.

information on the review of the Transport Standards is available at

are due 26 April 2013.

Photo: Graeme Innes (left) and Kristine Pedler … participants in today’s forum on accessible public transport.

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