Human rights

Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport

It is against the law for goods and services providers to discriminate against people with disability, and this includes public transport.

The Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (Transport Standards) came into effect in 2002 and set out minimum accessibility requirements for public transport providers and operators.

They aim to ensure that, over time, people with disability can enjoy the same public transport services as other members of the community. Many older Australians and people with prams will also benefit from the Transport Standards.

About the Transport Standards

The Transport Standards set out accessibility requirements for access paths, manoeuvring areas, ramps and boarding devices, allocated spaces, handrails, doorways, controls, symbols and signs, ticket machines and how information is provided.

They consider the broad range of disability covered by anti-discrimination law and apply to most public transport services.

They aim to clarify obligations for transport operators and providers under anti-discrimination law and to reduce discrimination complaints.

All public transport vehicles, premises and infrastructure brought into service after 2002 must comply with the Transport Standards.

All new facilities must comply with the Transport Standards, and an additional compliance timetable requires old infrastructure to be gradually replaced with accessible services and facilities.

How does the compliance timetable work?

The Transport Standards aim to deliver more accessible public transport over time as existing premises, infrastructure and vehicles are upgraded or replaced at the end of their service lives.

The compliance timetable ensures that increased accessibility is delivered for the community in a way that does not create an excessive burden for transport operators and providers.

It allows for staged compliance with requirements over a 30-year period, with certain milestones to be met every five years.

For example, transport operators and providers have ten years to ensure that surfaces, handrails and grab rails, gateways and vending machines comply with the Transport Standards. After 20 years, all buses must be fully compliant.