Lorraine, who is visually impaired, relies on public transport to access all the services she requires. Recent changes of bus routes, bus timetables and the establishment of new bus routes in her city have proved very confusing.
Unfortunately Lorraine was given wrong information by the bus helpline which made her first trip on a new route both very time consuming, stressful and upsetting. She has also been catching the wrong buses or taking earlier buses to ensure she arrives at meetings and appointments on time. A handout had been delivered to all households but only included a few of the changes. It was also inaccessible for Lorraine.
Helpers were provided at her nearest bus exchange but were only there for a few days following the changes. Passengers and even the bus drivers were confused by the new routes and scheduled times.
After discussion with the bus company, extra support has now been implemented for both disabled people and the general population. Access legislation would have ensured that detailed information, in accessible formats including electronically, along with suitable support, was provided to all bus passengers prior to the changes, particularly blind and vision impaired users.
This is my access story, it is one of many. I'm sharing it because I want a law that puts accessibility at the heart of an inclusive Aotearoa New Zealand.