QLD leads the way

Brisbane becomes the first bus network in Australia to trial an audio guide for the blind

The Queensland Government is trialling a new generation audible information system on the Brisbane bus network to improve accessibility for vision impaired people.

King George Square bus station has now been fitted with the innovative, audio-based system as part of a $50,000 trial of the new technology in the central city.

Queensland disability services minister Coralee O’Rourke says this is an Australian first and is pleased this will make the bus network easier to use for people with vision issues.

 "The system provides blind and vision impaired persons with audible messages outlining bus station facilities, bus stop locations and details of which routes leave from any given stop," she says.

"The user is alerted to the location of speakers through the Step-Hear phone app, or by a dedicated wrist band which vibrates when in proximity, and they can then activate the audio message using either of these devices."

King George Square bus station now has 30 speakers installed throughout the building, including speakers at the entry and each bus stop, which provide information on specific stop services.

"Guide Dogs Queensland has played a key role in this process, working closely with TransLink on the system and messaging to ensure it is as effective as possible," O’Rourke says.

"This is all part of our commitment to breaking down barriers and improving the lives of people with disability."

Guide Dogs Queensland chief executive Barb Tasker says the installation of the new system allows for greater independence and certainty for vision impaired commuters.

"Travelling to the city each day with low or no vision can be quite a daunting task, but technology like this is a great step to providing the confidence and support many need to go it alone and not have to rely on others for help," she says.

"This is the sort of independence we want to achieve.

Vision impaired users of the bus station can now have reliable points of information to help guide their way to their transport links with certainty that they’re on the right track.

"Users can also navigate from the station and connect with the Step-Hear system currently running in the Queen Street Mall, providing them greater freedom and access to shopping and cafes."

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