Accessibility Update - Q1 2014

Monday 28 April 2014

As part of our Accessibility Action Plan, Yarra Trams is committed to increasing its engagement with the community. This will enable us to share Yarra Trams' achievements and identify and discuss accessibility opportunities.  To help us achieve this, Yarra Trams held its first update meeting with stakeholders on Thursday 27 February 2014. 

Organisations including Blind Citizens Australia, Vision Australia, Guide Dogs Victoria, Scope, Victorian Council Of Social Service, Public Transport Ombudsman and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission were in attendance.

Snapshot of Accessibility achievements from 2013

More accessible trams


  • First five of 50 new low floor trams delivered.
  • Low-floor trams introduced to Route 19
  • Automated announcements now available on 66 trams
  • Gap reducer installed on all D-Class trams
  • Increased stepwell lighting on all B-Class trams
  • Additional grab handles fitted to Z-Class trams 

More accessible stops

Tram flags

  • 6 new accessible stops constructed (14 platforms), bringing the total number of accessible stops to 380
  • Review of the Client Design Requirements

More accessible information

Passenger information

  • Sticky notes implementation
  • Improved passenger information during disruptions
  • Updated accessibility DVD

Improved stakeholder engagement

Improved stakeholder engagement

  • Appointment of Accessibility Advisor
  • 19 familiarisation sessions held with 84 attendees
  • Accessibility week

Customer Service Standards

Customer Service Standards - December 2013

New Customer Service Standards have been developed for Yarra Trams customer service employees (CSEs). The standards are based on world's best practices and encompass all aspects of the CSE's role, from travelling to work, to giving direct assistance to passengers with special needs. All CSEs have been trained in the new standards.  Authorised officers and new tram drivers will also be trained in the customer service standards for when they perform customer service duties during major events such as the Australian Open and Grand Prix.

To help monitor the standards, a mystery shopper program will begin in May 2014.

Customer Service Standards for authorised officers are currently being developed, and we anticipate training to begin in July 2014.

Other training and disability awareness highlights:

  • All frontline staff training contains an accessibility component
  • Working with PTV, Metro Trains, VLine and Bus Victoria to review and develop consistent accessibility training for all modes
  • Implementation of a new rule book for drivers, including customer service standards
  • Communication boards to be developed for use at major stops to assist tourists and passengers with communication difficulties

Improved information during disruptions

With the help of our dedicated passenger information team, Yarra Trams is communicating both planned and unplanned disruptions to passengers in more ways than ever before.  Onboard announcements, website content, tramTRACKER updates (via smartphone application and passenger information displays at stops) and Twitter updates are made during unplanned disruptions between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

To assist our reaction to disruptions, a diversions book is being developed for use by operations centre employees.  The book contains information on the three main diversions that each route is likely to take.  This allows operations centre controllers to broadcast a diversion number which employees can view in the book, reducing the amount of time to begin communicating service changes to passengers.

Planned disruptions are communicated to passengers through passenger bulletins (online and at stops), disruption signage at affected stops, on board announcements, tramTRACKER, and newspaper ads for major construction works.

Other highlights

  • Updated iPhone app, currently in testing phase, includes up to date disruption information
  • On board announcements targeting passenger behaviours including priority seating, safety messages and myki information being broadcasted on the trams

Improved accessibility information

  • Wheelchair symbol added to network to show routes that are serviced exclusively by low-floor trams
  • Updated accessibility information panel added to Route 96 and 109 route maps
  • Improved accessibility information during special events, including low-floor tram services and a map showing the accessible path from the tram stop to the venue

Meet the Managers

Meet the Managers is a recurring event that Yarra Trams has run since the beginning of the Franchise in 2009.  It gives passengers the opportunity to meet managers from the company and to share ideas for the continued revitalisation of Melbourne's tram network.

Four times a year managers from various areas from Yarra Trams answer questions from passengers at selected accessible tram stops for approximately two hours.  Coffee and muffins are provided for passengers who give feedback.

The last session was held at the new accessible stop in Elizabeth Street at La Trobe Street on Friday 7 March.  A steady flow of passengers kept our managers busy, with mainly positive feedback being received.  Negative feedback was generally about overcrowding on Elizabeth Street routes.

Accessibility Week

To coincide with International Day of People with a Disability, Yarra Trams hosted its first Accessibility Week from Monday 2 to Friday 6 December 2013. 

The week started with a visit from accessibility and rehabilitation groups to Southbank Depot.

On Tuesday, the International Day of People with a Disability, we were part of the Disability Sport and Recreation Festival at Federation Square.  Yarra Trams has been a proud supporter of DSR events since 2005.

Wednesday saw our first Accessible Transport Race, with teams of Yarra Trams employees racing against representatives of DSR while simulating conditions faced by passengers with disabilities.

On Wednesday one of the highlights of the week was representatives from disability groups assisting Yarra Trams' executive team as they simulated disabilities while travelling on public transport.  The exercise gave our executives the chance to experience first-hand what it is like travelling with a disability.  It was also an opportunity for disability group representatives to discuss the key accessibility issues on Melbourne's tram network with our most senior employees.

At Caulfield Hospital a mock tram is used for rehabilitation sessions, and it was relaunched on Thursday after being reconditioned and repainted.

The week finished up with the release of Yarra Trams updated Accessibility DVD.  For a copy of the DVD, please call Yarra Trams Customer Feedback on 1800 800 007 (6am-midnight daily).

Access to public transport services - on trams

  • Tram drivers are being trained in revised emergency ramp procedures as part of their refresher training.  All drivers will have completed the training within 18 months.
  • Designs for floor marking to identify the accessible priority area on low-floor trams.  A trial of the full design will begin on C2 (bumblebee trams) in May.  Once the trial is complete a business case will be prepared for consideration from Public Transport Victoria.
  • The mobility symbols on the doors of low-floor trams have been updated to the revised wheelchair symbol.  The symbols have been incorporated into the plans for wrapped trams, to prevent the symbols being covered by advertisements.

Improve the customer experience

The retrofitting of approximately 30 accessible tram stops will occur this year.  These stops were built to old client design requirements and have a larger boarding gap that can be difficult to manoeuvre.  The first two stops were retrofitted in December 2013, with the remaining stops scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.

Cascade plan

As the new E Class trams are introduced, larger trams will be put on other routes where patronage and demand for larger trams is the greatest.  The first route to receive the larger trams is Route 19 which now has two D Class trams operating.  Our aim is to have Route 19 fully serviced by low-floor trams within two years.

Improved waiting environment at stops

  • Improved visibility of stops with brighter LED lighting 
          - Trial at stops in Collins Street with great results
          - Trial to be extended to problematic stops, before being rolled out across the network
  • Improved visibility of stops with yellow strips added to shelter
  • Review of the Client Design Requirements for building accessible tram stops
  • Trial of miniPIDS to begin at South Yarra station shortly