Late last week, approximately 30 Metro Trains staff visited our Mobility Training Centre (MTC) in Kensington. During this visit, they got to experience firsthand how people who are blind or have low vision access train platforms and seek out bus replacements.
Finding your way to a replacement bus service if your train has been put on hold can be daunting at the best of times. Without your eyesight, that feeling magnifies ten-fold.
The Metro staff members went through two demonstrations. The first had them navigating the streets of Kensington trying to find a replacement bus sign that we had placed near Macaulay train station. They worked in pairs, one member was blindfolded and navigating via a cane and the other was their guide, alerting them to disruptions in the footpath and other dangers. Once they reached their destination, they went back the way they had come with their roles reversed.
The second demonstration led a small group on a tour through our MTC. The lead person was blindfolded and led by AIRA, a call-in service where an operator describes the path in front of the caller through a camera in their phone. AIRA can be used for assistance with navigation, but it can also be used for everyday tasks such as reading, describing objects in front of you, and much more.
This group eventually made its way to our model Metro Trains carriage where AIRA guided them around the platform and into the train.
After this, everyone reconvened and had a Q&A session with two of our clients, Nadia and Joan, who fielded questions about what works and what doesn't with the way things currently work in the Metro system. After this there was a group discussion of what they had learned and what they could implement in the future.
Overall the event was a huge success and we thank Metro Trains for working with us on this opportunity.