Legislation and Policy Developments

The Human Rights Commission has been monitoring legislation and policy developments that will have implications for accessible public transport and making the ‘accessible journey’ a reality.

Some of the key developments over the past year have included:

Requirements for Urban Buses in New Zealand

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has released new vehicle quality standards to be used by regional authorities when letting new contracts for urban scheduled bus services. The requirements describe the minimum accessibility standards and cover the technical requirements for the priority seating area, doors, aisle width, handrails, grab rails, lighting, signals, external destination displays, internal information and ramps. The guidelines are available from: http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/publications/requirements-for-urban-buses/

New Zealand Transport Strategy 2008

The strategy sets the direction for transport to 2040. It establishes the vision and objectives for transport, sets targets and outlines the key challenges for transport in the coming years. With regards to accessible public land transport the strategy states that “the government is committed to the concept of a fully accessible journey, but recognises that there are issues associated with achieving this” The Ministry of Transport will develop an implementation plan by July 2009 in response to the recommendations made in the Accessible Journey and set a specific accessibility target for inclusion in the next update of the strategy in 2010. The Strategy is available at: http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/Downloads/NZTS-final-PDF.pdf

Public Transport Management Act 2008

The Act enables regional councils to impose controls requiring commercial public transport operators to met specified quality and performance standards, including accessibility standards. The Act came into force on I January 2009. Regional Public Transport Plans must take into account the needs of the transport disadvantaged, which includes disabled people. Groups that represent the transport disadvantaged must be consulted in the preparation of the plan. A fact sheet about the Act is available at: http://www.transport.govt.nz/assets/landPDFs/PTMAFactsheets.pdf

Braille Signs in Taxis

From 1 October 2008 all taxis must display signs in Braille, inside the front door, indicating the taxi company, the cab’s unique fleet number and the company’s contact phone number for complaints. This was enacted as part of Land Transport Rule 81001 available at http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/rules/operator-licensing-2007.html

Training requirements for Passenger (P) endorsed licences

All those who wish to drive a bus on a commercial service or a taxi must obtain a Passenger (P) endorsed licence. From 1 February 2009 all new applicants for this licence must complete the passengers with special needs awareness training unit standard. Approved training kits are available for approved course providers for this purpose.

Hamilton City Accessible Journey Trial

 

The Hamilton City Accessible Journey Trial
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The Hamilton City Accessible Journey Trial: An Evaluation  reports on a trial undertaken in 2008 to assess the effectiveness of modifications made to two medium buses and five on-route bus stops serving inner city Hamilton. The trial was jointly sponsored by Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council, New Zealand Transport Agency, Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind, CCS Disability Action and the Human Rights Commission. The evaluation concluded that the modifications improved access for all users and increased the overall use and confidence in passenger use and confidence in passenger use of public land transport. The report makes a number of recommendations related to bus stop design, seating options for wheelchair users, kerb and tactile treatment preferences and the use of real-time information and next-stop announcements.

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