Public Transport



Access to Public Transport Recommendations


Physical Barriers: - Vehicle 



People in wheelchairs cannot access the majority of the current fleet of buses.

Lack of certainty that every bus on a scheduled accessible route will be accessible.

Lack of room for electric chair or scooter to manoeuvre on buses

Vehicle boarding:

bulletsteps onto buses are too high for people with disabilities and the infirm
bulletlack of visual strips defining steps
bulletbuses with vehicle-mounted loading ramps - need to be non slip and have a safety guard and correct gradient.

New buses purchased will be accessible to people in wheelchairs and with mobility disabilities, and will conform to the disability standards.

Accessible buses will have low flat floors at least to behind the rear doors, ramps which can be deployed if necessary, low ramp angles and may have kneeling suspensions to lower the height further.

Door design:

bulletprogramming for the operation of the door, severity of closing, circuit-breaking capacity

Accessible buses to incorporate door design which does not present a barrier to independent or assisted access and be fully automatic.

Distance and height from the step to the vehicle:

bulletlack of uniform gap when buses arrive at platforms
bulletlack of lumination and definition of step (people with impaired vision sometimes cannot locate steps as they appear to be holes)

Design of bus platforms should take into account the design of low floor buses.

Training of drivers to stop at a set distance from the kerb will further improve effective step heights and distances.  Education and awareness training for drivers on judging the appropriate distance from the kerb for the vision impaired and people with disabilities.

Defining edge of steps to assist the vision impaired.  A light coloured strip should mark the edge of steps.


Aisle width is insufficient for people with disabilities to move freely along the bus.

Accessible buses providing for front door entry for people in wheelchairs will provide wider aisles at least as far as to immediately behind the rear doorway or to the rear axle.

The width of aisles will be minimum width required is 850mm.

Lack of grab rails, also their:


The stanchion at the front door of buses (situated in the centre of the entrance) inconveniences people with disabilities.

New accessible buses will not have a centre stanchion at any door to be used by people in wheelchairs. 

A handrail, yellow-coated for visibility will be provided on the left side from the front door past the driver and the ticket validation machine. 

All rails need to be visible to people with low vision and be in a contrasting colour to the rest of the bus interior.

The height of seating on buses and  available leg room between seats is restrictive for some people with mobility disabilities.

Lack of sufficient priority seating

More suitable seat heights will be specified in bus purchase contracts for ‘priority seating’.

Assess demand for priority seating and increase provision if required.

Limited space available on buses for guide dogs.

Seats in forward areas of buses will be floor-mounted rather than plinth-mounted.

Buses with positions for wheelchairs will also create larger spaces adjacent to some seats.  These seats may be suitable for priority seating eg. passengers with guide dogs.

Labelling for priority seating will be clear and visible to all commuters and be in a contrast colour to assist the vision impaired.

Wheelchair occupants have difficulty maintaining stability of his/her unit.

The disability standards recognise the use of both active and passive restraining systems.  The service provider should examine the options proposed at the national level.

Unregulated movements of passengers entering and leaving vehicles lead to safety concerns.

Buses should remain stationary to allow sufficient boarding and seating time.

Address as part of public transport marketing programs and in general information, including details of acceptable movements within vehicles as stated in the ‘conditions of carriage’.

Timetable to allow for required stationary periods at interchanges and bus stops

The height and positioning of ticket validation machines causes some problems for people of small stature and those in wheelchairs.

At present, it is difficult for the vision impaired to locate ticket machine and to know which way the ticket is used.

Position ticket validation machines for people of all statures, including people in wheelchairs.

The location of the validating machine should also be standardised for all buses, preferably close to the driver and next to a railing to allow ease of location.

Tickets should contain an indicator detailing ‘which way up’ to assist the vision impaired to validate their ticket.

Emergency exits are generally not accessible, visually or physically, to people with disabilities.


Physical Barriers:  Access to Bus Stops



Lack of uniformity in platform layout and building shelter design and orientation.

Signs and information are not legible or located in a uniform way to assist people who are vision impaired.

Some Stops are not located in close proximity to other services, such as shops.

Stops do not provide a safe environment and are poorly lit.

Lack of accessible toilets

Standardised kerb heights, shelter design and placement of doors that comply with the disability standards, should be adopted at all Stops.

Any lighting provided should comply with minimum levels of maintenance illumination for various situations eg. adequate lighting for the vision impaired.

Where toilets are incorporated into a bus Stop at least one will be an accessible toilet.

Not all bus Stops have tactile surfaces, including clearly-signalled platform edges and pathways near the platform/vehicle interface which convey necessary information to vision impaired.

Tactile ground surface indicators, of a contrasting colour, are to be installed on the access path to indicate stairways, ramps, changes of direction, overhead obstructions below a height of 2000mm, and hazards within a circulation space or adjacent to a path of travel.

A program for upgrading of bus Stops to include tactile tiling on platform edges and to identify access pathways including pathways to information offices and taxi ranks will be included in future Capital Works Programs.


Physical Barriers: Bus stops



Shelters do not meet the needs of people with disabilities:

bulletlayout not predictable
bulletinformation legibility
bulletsafety - insufficient lighting
bulletneed standard orientation
bulletinadequate manoeuvring space in shelters for wheelchair users

Seats at bus stops can be difficult to get out of

Installation of a bus shelter is not a requirement under the Disability Standards.   Where shelters are provided standardised shelters that better meet the needs of people with disabilities will be encouraged.

A managed plan for the design and installation of bus shelters should be developed which will meet the needs of people with disabilities, including people in wheelchairs.

Examine types of seats available meeting the Australian Standards for height, seat angle and arm rests.

Poor access to bus stops, including:

bulletthe lack of, or substandard paving
bulletinadequate clear manoeuvring space
bulletbus ramp  to kerb gradient is often greater than 1 in 8
bulletlamp posts adjacent to bus pads with no luminance contrast

A template of a bus should be developed, detailing the paving, access paths and manoeuvring requirements.

A priority order should be established for upgrading bus stops on specific routes.

Where practical, existing stops should be upgraded to meet the disability standards and such as raising the kerb heights, constructing the bus pad and installing tactile paving at boarding points.

Relocate lamp posts and/or apply paint/stickers to provide luminance contrast.

People with vision impairment have difficulty finding bus stops

Investigate the use of global positioning systems and audio tactile transmitters

In busy areas – a preferred route for the vision impaired to walk (eg from shopping mall to bus stops).

Tactile paving across footpaths to indicate the path to a bus stops.

Need to identify and prioritise bus routes to be made accessible

Consult with peak disability organisations to determine which routes will be made accessible (eg: those past educational facilities and work/office centres).

Difficulties experienced trying to cross road once a person has alighted from a bus.  Lack of ramps – access to road.

Include ramp to roadway from bus stops.

Communication Barriers



Lack of information at bus stops and Stops for vision impaired.

People who are wheelchair dependent and people of short stature have difficulty reading some signs.

Inadequate, inconsistent positioning of signs and type of lettering.

Signs should be placed at a height conforming to the disability standards.  People who are vision impaired require signs which are slightly curved following the line of the pole, have rounded edges, a matt finish, raised lettering and contrasting background colour to lettering.

(If signs do not have a matt finish they should be placed in a non-reflective area as the sun can be counter productive).

Signs should include braille and large letters.

At major bus stops the signs should display both the route number and the timetable.

Destination indicators on buses are too small and unclear. People with vision impairment have difficulty seeing and reading them. 

Information should be located on the front, side and rear of the vehicle.

Specifications for accessible buses will include more-easily readable, destination/route number information above the driver’s position as well as at the side and rear of the bus with a clear border, as specified by the disability standards.

Sometimes where two or more routes depart from the same bay or stop, not all buses pull up at the head of the rank.

Lack of non-visual means of identifying a bus by route.

A communication system should be implemented to facilitate the identification of buses and bays for the vision impaired.

Service providers should be required  to ensure that their drivers assist customers to identify the route a bus is operating by pulling up to the head of the rank.

A means that preserves the dignity of people with disabilities, will be developed  for consumers to be able to indicate to the driver what route is required.

Communicating with bus operators and information staff presents problems for people with:

bullethearing disabilities
bulletintellectual disabilities
bulletspeech difficulties
bulletvision impairment.

Options will be investigated for alternative means of communication, such as reminder tags (with destination identification to hand to bus operators to enable operators to set the passenger down at correct destination, charge correct fare), braille, large print, and electronic information.

The service provider should ensure that all staff undertake training focusing on dealing with people with disabilities.

Inability of the blind and vision impaired to identify which bus they are travelling on (in case of lost property, complaint or other need).

The service provider should make available material for educating consumers to note the route number, destination and time of travel to assist operators in identifying the service they have used.

Lack of audio as well as visual route number identification systems at major points (eg bus Stops and heavily used bus stops).

Identifying the correct bus to catch.

Investigate best means of providing information (eg bus-based or bus-stop-based announcements).

The service provider should keep abreast of technological advances in relation to communication systems for the vision impaired.

The driver must always pull into the kerb at the designated point of departure.

Lack of or inappropriate passenger communication devices, such as emergency switches, etc.


Design, such as a contrasting colour and location improvements for ‘next stop’ buttons on new buses, will be specified in bus purchase contracts.

Bus operators should seek opportunities for improvements to communication devices on existing buses.

Devices and switches should be uniformly placed and users should be educated of their placement.

Some consumers are unaware of the service provider’s complaint mechanism.

Service providers should inform users of the available complaint mechanism.

The service provider should continue with appropriate staff counselling and driver disciplinary processes which are already in place to deal with complaints.

Lack of identification on route maps of the location of accessible bus stops

Service provider should distinguish which bus stops are accessible on route maps.


Attitudinal Barriers



Lack of staff competencies in dealing with people with disabilities leads to attitudinal barriers.

Lack of, or recent review of operational policy regarding behaviour of bus operators towards passengers with disabilities.

Service level agreements with service provider should require accredited training.

The Service Provider will ensure that driver training incorporates:

bulletprocesses for assisting people with disabilities
bulletan understanding of their responsibilities

Competency measures and accreditation of staff who assist people with disabilities should be developed.

Operational staff training and accreditation should be implemented using international best practice disability standards and refresher training

Lack of involvement of people with disabilities in staff training.

Development and presentation of training programs should include input from people with disabilities.

Skills and attitude of staff providing information services is inadequate.

Improve consultation between providers and users in training development.

Need to develop competency based training for areas providing information services.

Some Pictures of Accessible  Public Buses



This web site contains information on various specifications and recommendations compiled by Nilesh Singit from various sources and websites. The owner of this website does not claim originality for these pages and wherever possible acknowledges the source.  If you can tell the owner of this website the source of any page missed out find, the owner of this website shall be glad to acknowledge. The views expressed here are the owner of this website's  personal views, not those of the Organisations he works or represents in any capacity.