Metlink’s new plan sets foundation for inclusive transport network
Metlink’s new Accessibility Action Plan takes a step towards an all-inclusive public transport network, with innovative initiatives aimed at breaking down barriers, enhancing accessibility and fostering inclusivity for all passengers.
Metlink has announced that it has presented its Accessibility Action Plan to regional councillors during the Transport Committee meeting held on 17 August 2023. The plan outlines a series of bold initiatives designed to transform the Metlink network into a seamlessly accessible system for everyone.
Thomas Nash, Chair of Greater Wellington Transport, said: “Our public transport system was not designed to be accessible for all people and fixing that is not only a legal requirement, it’s just the right thing to do. We have a collective responsibility to ensure our public transport system is accessible to all and allows disabled people to exercise their rights just like everyone else.”
This unveiling follows the council’s unanimous adoption of Metlink’s accessibility charter in 2021 and is an embodiment of its continued efforts to enhance accessibility. The plan encompasses a comprehensive array of strategies, ranging from physical infrastructure enhancements to improved digital tools and staff training.
Significant strides have already been taken in this direction, with initiatives such as an on-bus announcement system and an upgraded website and app that adhere to the latest accessibility standards. These changes are already being integrated into the network, representing the initial steps of Metlink’s comprehensive plan.
“Metlink has always been committed to creating an accessible network and with a plan now in place, we’re able to ensure that future upgrades or innovations factor in an accessible perspective from the outset,” said Bonnie Parfitt, Metlink Network and Customer Senior Manager. “This plan brings together planning and commitment to help Metlink achieve its goal of creating a network and delivering an essential service that is safe and inclusive for all our passengers.”
The plan’s development is a product of 12 months of co-design and extensive in-person engagement with disabled individuals, advocates, frontline staff and the council’s advisory group. This approach has ensured that the plan genuinely reflects the needs and perspectives of those who would directly benefit from its implementation.
Among the upcoming initiatives set to roll-out as early as 2024 are an accessibility training programme, increased awareness of hidden disabilities and improvements to stop and station accessibility.
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