Using public transport

Below are some strategies to assist you with bus, train, ferry and tram travel.

Accessing the timetable

  • get a large print timetable
  • use a monocular or magnifier
  • use the audio recorded announcement system
  • access the transport company's website or telephone service.

Locating stations

  • ask a family member or friend to escort you to the station
  • identify landmarks to assist you to orientate yourself and locate the station
  • catch a taxi to the station, ask the driver to drop you at a location you know and will remember
  • get a lift from a friend.

Locating the correct platform

  • ask for directions or assistance
  • look for platform signs.

Where to wait

  • stand or sit within the allocated safe area, i.e. behind yellow lines along the platform, shelter
  • always wait in the same position for the vehicle (the driver's end of the vehicle is the safest position).

Identifying the correct bus, train, tram or ferry

  • ask the driver or other travellers/passengers
  • look for a sign or number on the vehicle (may use monocular).

Getting on and off the vehicle

Person with long cane disembarking from a bus
  • wait for the vehicle to stop completely
  • locate the entry using vision, hearing or a mobility aid
  • hold onto rails or poles for support
  • carefully judge the gap from the platform or the height of steps visually or with a mobility aid.

Paying the fare

  • use a vision impaired persons' travel pass
  • have correct fare or ticket ready.

Finding a seat

  • use the seats reserved for elderly or disabled passengers
  • ask another traveller/passenger if they can see a vacant seat.

Knowing where to get off

  • sit near  the driver and ask them to inform you when you get to your stop
  • look for major landmarks
  • count the stops or stations
  • listen to audio announcements.

Locating the station exit

  • ask staff or fellow passengers for assistance
  • follow the crowd exiting the vehicle.
  • look for identifying landmarks.

By far your most helpful hint in all situations is to ask and be prepared.

As with many areas of mobility, practice is very important. Having a practice run with a friend accompanying you will allow you the opportunity to identify the ways, signs and landmarks you require to travel safely and with more confidence.

Aeroplanes and coaches

When travelling on other modes of public transport such as aeroplanes or coaches:

  • have a family member or friend accompany you either on a 'practice run' prior to trip or on the actual trip if it is a seldom used route
  • use a mobility aid if required (many clients find an ID cane invaluable in these situations)
  • contact airlines, coach companies, ports or stations, as they may provide 'meet and greet' assistance on request
  • if it is a regular mode of transport, request individual service and training from Vision Australia.

Further information

If you require further assistance to be able to use public transport, you can request specialist training from an Orientation and Mobility Specialist from Vision Australia.

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