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27 February 2024

Navigating public transport with disability.

Public transport helps many Australians, including those with disability, get around and participate in daily activities. It opens doors to social and community participation and employment opportunities. However, navigating public transport with disability can sometimes feel a little daunting.

That’s why the Leap in! Crew has put together this guide to help you find your way with confidence.


How to find accessible public transport in your area.

Using public transport can require some research and planning. It’s essential to know when and where to catch your transport, where to get off, and to have the appropriate ticket or travel card. Here are some resources that can help you plan your journey:

Google Maps is a valuable tool for finding a suitable route. It has a feature that allows you to filter public transport options by accessibility. In the app you can click on different stops and stations to see StreetView images and accessibility information that other users have shared—like whether a place has a step-free entrance or an accessible restroom.

State transportation websites provide detailed information about accessible travel and how to best navigate the network with disability.

Mobile apps are available for all state public transport networks. The apps are free to download and make it easy to check route maps, schedules and real-time information from your mobile. You can download these by visiting the relevant state transport website (listed above) or by visiting the App Store or Google Play Store from your mobile phone.


Paying for public transport.

You may be able to use your NDIS budget to pay for supports that help you access public transport like assistive technology or a training program to help you learn how to navigate public transport.

You cannot use your NDIS budget to pay for your fare but many public transportation providers offer free or discounted travel passes for people with disability.

Before your journey be sure to find out if you need to use a prepaid transport card for your fare or if you can pay onboard with cash, EFTPOS or a credit card.


Travelling with assistance animals on public transport.

People with disability who have an assistance animal are entitled to bring them on public transport. While there’s no national standard for identifying accredited assistance dogs, it’s unlawful to deny them entry, as long as they meet each state or territory’s guidelines for an assistance animal.

For more information on assistance animals, read our recent article What’s the difference between emotional support animals and assistance animals?


Tips to make sure your trip is comfortable and safe.

Practice your trip in advance – if you’re going to use the same route regularly, have a few practice sessions with a family member or carer, support worker, or therapist.

Reduce sensory load – for example, those sensitive to noise might like to wear headphones to either cancel noise or provide music.

Plan your trip in advance – check ahead of time to see if your planned route offers some features (such as ramps or wheelchair access) ahead of time.


Further reading.

Travel and transport funding under the NDIS.

NDIS provider travel costs and activity based transport.

Taxi vouchers and transport support.

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