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Two accessibility apps selected for trial on NSW buses

Two emerging public transport accessibility apps have been chosen for a bus and coach service trial in NSW

The NSW government has confirmed that two new pieces of technology are being trialled in selected areas to support members of the community who are blind, vision impaired or have difficulty accessing bus services.

Following the trial of its ‘See Me’ app in Port Macquarie alongside operator partner Busways, SAGE Automation has been selected to participate in the Bus Boarding Assistant Innovation Challenge to trial apps that empower customers with vision impairment or reduced mobility to access bus transport services more independently.

Alongside SAGE Automation, Hailo has also been selected as part of the challenge after already working with operators in Tweed Heads, Queanbeyan and on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The trials are expected to end in June 2024, with Transport for NSW (TfNSW) executive director of advanced analytics and insights Simone Roberts saying the challenge will explore how data and technology can help make public transport more accessible.

“Catching public transport can be daunting for members of the community who live with vision impairment or reduced mobility, and we want to make their journeys as comfortable and smooth as possible,” Roberts says.

“Some difficulties affecting accessibility include signalling the bus driver, requesting a boarding ramp and knowing when a destination is approaching so the driver can be notified to stop.”

Roberts says the apps link to the bus via an onboard system that digitally notifies the driver of the passengers needs ahead of time so they can plan accordingly, such as preparing a boarding ramp for people with limited mobility.

“The findings from the trials will help us to understand the effectiveness of using this type of technology in improving the experience for both the passenger and driver, as well as inform future needs for bus technology and systems to support accessibility of our public transport services,” Roberts says.

More information on the Bus Boarding Assistant Innovation Challenge can be found by typing ‘Bus Boarding Assistant Innovation Challenge’ in your search engine.

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