Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand)

Metro improves access for all users

To make sure everyone can communicate on the transport network, 80 of Metro’s station staff and Authorised Officers have gone through the first stage of Auslan training. 

They are now able to communicate with passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing using Auslan to help them travel across the network. 

The online course consisted of 3.5 hours of training, covering topics including money, transport, emotions and social activities in addition to the alphabet and numbers. 

This initiative follows on from work done last year to launch Metro’s Language Badge program. 

Minister for Public and Active Transport Gabrielle Williams celebrated the initiative.

“Metro’s Language Badge program is strengthening accessibility on our transport network and having staff learn the fundamentals of Auslan will make even more people feel heard on our trains,” she said.

The language badges worn by frontline staff are available for any language as well as Auslan for people with profound hearing loss, ensuring passengers and tourists can more easily communicate and ask questions as they travel across the train network. 

Metro Trains Executive Director Projects, Peter Gleeson explained the program further.

“At Metro, we want to represent the community we serve and this initiative is a great way to ensure our passengers who speak another language or have a disability feel confident as they travel around the public transport network.,” he said.

“Providing training to our frontline staff means that our passengers who use Auslan to communicate have easier access to information and assistance on the train network.” 

So far 685 badges are by Metro Trains staff including Authorised Officers and station staff who speak dozens of languages including Thai, French and Persian. 

The proportion of people born overseas in Victoria who come from non-main English speaking countries is now more than 77 per cent – the highest for all Australian states and territories. Being able to identify a staff member who speaks their language will give passengers navigating the public transport system more confidence.