Public transport training promotes community inclusion
A first-of-its-kind collaboration between Transperth and Therapy Focus is helping to make catching the bus safer and easier for people who use mobility equipment.
On January 24, Transperth kindly arranged for an accessible bus to be available for an hour so that Chelsea Ong, Israa Atti and Naomi Parker could practice using their wheelchairs and scooters on the bus.
Therapy Focus Adult Services Coordinator, Ruth Leong approached Transperth with the idea after seeing a need for this kind of support.
“When our clients first receive mobility equipment they don’t really get an opportunity to practice using it on public transport. It can be very difficult to manoeuvre a wheelchair or scooter in a crowded environment, and having to learn these skills on the go can be intimidating. Particularly with the time and space constraints that come with boarding a bus,” Ruth said.
“We approached Transperth to see if they could make an accessible bus available so our clients could practice without the rush and crowd you’d usually find on a bus route, and thankfully they were extremely helpful and accommodating.”
With the assistance of Therapy Focus therapists and Transperth bus driver, Derrek, the group were are able to rehearse using bus ramps, tagging on and learning how to park their mobility equipment within a confined space.
“Participants were able to take their time problem solving any issues they encountered, which helped them feel more confident. And having the confidence to catch public transport goes a long way in helping people with disabilities participate in the community.”
This was the case for Israa Atti, who uses a mobility scooter and attended the session to feel more confident about catching the bus to TAFE, where she is studying a Diploma of Business.
“Before attending the practice session I was very afraid of catching the bus, but now I feel a lot better about it. I learnt how to park inside the bus and how to get off easily,” Israa said.
The session was also beneficial for Transperth, who are reviewing feedback that the grab rails on the bus are suited to people who can walk up and down the ramps, but are too high for someone in a wheelchair to reach.
For more information or to register your interest in future sessions, email Adult Services Coordinator Ruth Leong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured: Israa practicing using her mobility scooter on the bus with the help of her support worker.