AusRAIL, Market Sectors

ARA raises disability awareness

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Australasian Railway Association has emphasised the importance of disability and safe behaviour around trains, following the release of CCTV footage showing a woman on a motorised mobility device falling on to tracks in Melbourne. </span> <p>ARA CEO, Bryan Nye, stressed the significance of safety and vigilance around train tracks and on station platforms, saying that the incident could have ended tragically, if not for the quick thinking of onlookers and train operators, Metro.</p><p>The incident occurred at Mooroolbark station in Melbourne, at an undisclosed date in May.</p><p>Quite a bit of work is already being done in Australia to improve access to rail services and facilities for people with disability.</p><p>Victorian operator V/Line, for example, has launched the Accessibility Action Plan 2012-2015, which outlines the company’s commitments to making the services accessible to all.</p><p>The plan sees customer service and communications as a big element of providing improved accessibility to V/Line customers. Direct assistance at stations and on the services, effective staff training and awareness along with passenger information are the key priorities in the area.</p><p>Another key element is consultation and community engagement through the rollout of community forums, Member of Parliament road shows, customer feedback and on-train and online monthly consultations.</p><p>This move to provide greater access to rail services for customers is also being implemented by other operators across the country, such as Queensland Rail, Yarra Trams and Melbourne Metro Trains.</p><p>ARA’s associate director of environment and regulation, Rhianne Jory, told Rail Express that one of the most important issues for the industry is for the Rail Industry Safety and Standards Board (RISSB) Accessible Rail Services Code of Practice to be legally recognised.</p><p>The RISSB Code has been developed and validated by in conjunction with the AHRC and the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, Jory said.</p><p>The Code of Practice was developed due to the fact that the existing legislative regime for accessible transport services (namely the Transport Standards) does not reflect the unique environment within which the rail industry operates.</p><p>“As more and more people are using rail as their preferred mode of transport, there is an increased demand for rolling stock as well as railway facilities such as stations,” Jory said.</p><p>“It is important to ensure that railway facilities and services are accessible for all. The current regulatory regime does not allow for this to occur as most operators are unable to comply with the Standards’ requirements in many areas.</p><p>“The Code aims to bridge this gap. The aim of the Code is to meet the objectives of the DDA while ensuring that the industry can make the necessary changes to its services and facilities and customers’ journeys are less disruptive and as accessible as possible.”</p>