Summary: If you are experiencing a reduction in your sight, you might start to find it more difficult to take public transport independently and safely. This guide gives you a list of services that public transport operators offer to help you make your journey easier.
Travel Assistance Scheme
The Travel Assistance Scheme is run by Dublin Bus in the greater Dublin area to help you use public transport on your own. An assistant can accompany you the first few times you travel and give you advice on planning a journey using Dublin Bus, the DART or the luas. The Travel Assistance Scheme is free and is for people aged 18 or over. You can use it Monday to Friday between 8 am and 18 pm. To find out more call 01 7033204 or email: [email protected].
Travelling on Dublin Bus
Dublin Bus has a policy that says that all buses will stop if there is a person with a long cane or a guide dog at the bus stop. If you can’t see the bus number, please ask the driver where the bus is going when you get on.
NCBI has been working with Dublin Bus and Dublin City Council on the establishment of real time passenger information for Dublin Bus. To get information about buses coming to your stop, text the number of your bus stop to 53035 and you will receive information on which buses are on their way and when each one is likely to reach your stop. The number of the bus stop is located on the bus pole. The number is written in raised numbers with good colour contrast and also in Braille. If your stop is a shelter, rather than a pole, the number will be on the facing side of the top corner of the shelter, on the outside.
Travelling on the luas
The luas offers you on-board audible announcements of each stop while on a tram so you will know exactly where you are along the tram line.
However, if you have difficulty with reading the overhead screen on the front of each luas tram (which tells you where the tram is going), you can push the Emergency Help Point button available at each stop. This will connect you to a staff member so that you can ask them where the next luas tram at your stop istravelling to (The O2 or Connolly, for example).
If you have a smartphone, a free luas app is available for Apple iPhone and Android phones. This gives you live luas information for all stops on luas red and green lines.
If you experience any difficulties with the luas service, please contact the luas Customer Care on 1800 300 604 or www.luas.ie.
Travelling on Irish Rail
If possible, please let Irish Rail know in advance of at least 24 hours before you travel that you require assistance.
When informing your local station or the accessibility office that you need assistance, please give the following details:
- Date of travel and departure time of the train.
- Destination station and any intermediate stations where a change of train is necessary.
- The type of assistance will be required at the departure and arrival stations and how staff will be able to identify you.
Reserving seats on Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann)
If you wish to reserve a seat, you can do this on Irish Rail’s website. Choose your origin and destination on the journey planner and then choose your train. When choosing your ticket, click on Reserve Seat, which costs €3 per journey. You must then get a ticket to travel using your free travel pass at the ticket office in the station on the day of travel.
If you prefer you can contact Irish Rail’s telesales team on 01 703 4070, who can assist you with making a reservation. This facility was introduced for customers who already have a ticket to travel, e.g. free travel, return ticket, annual ticket, etc.
If you have difficulty locating your reserved seats you can ask in advance to be shown to your reserved seat by a customer service staff member. Alternatively, when reserving your seat you can specify ‘first window seat on the left as I enter the third carriage on the train’, for example, so that you can locate the seat easily.
To avoid sitting in seats which have been reserved by other people (when you have not made a reservation, and are just looking for a free seat), there are also a couple of options. The first is to ask in advance to be brought to an unreserved seat on the train by a customer service staff member. The second is to walk along the platform to the very last carriage, where it is not possible to reserve seats, and sit on any seat that is not already occupied.
Accessibility of Stations and Trains
Since 2000, an accessibility refurbishment programme to make the existing railway stations accessible is underway. For more information about accessibility at Irish Rails stations atwww.irishrail.ie/cat_stations_list.jsp.
Over a number of years, Irish Rail has also been working on making their trains accessible to people with disabilities. For DART and Commuter carriages, there is ongoing work to improve the audio visual announcements. At some stations there is a gap between the platform and the carriage. This may create difficulty for some customers and assistance may be required.
You can find out more on Irish Rail’s website at http://www.irishrail.ie/index.jsp?p=120&n=151.
Travelling on Bus Éireann
Bus Éireann wants to make their public transport system and infrastructure fully accessible. It aims to procure more accessible vehicles as part of our continuing programme of fleet replacement and upgrading subject to funding being available. Find out more at www.buseireann.ie/inner.php?id=297
Companion Free Travel Pass
If your vision is below a certain level, you may be entitled to a companion free travel pass issued by the Department of Social Protection. A companion free travel pass entitles you and any one other person over the age of 16 who accompanies you to free travel on Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann, LUAS and Irish Rail. An old age free travel pass entitles you and your spouse only to free travel. If you are over 66 and already have an old age free travel pass, a companion free travel pass can be issued to you by returning your pass along with a letter from NCBI confirming your level of vision.
Apply to the Free Travel section of the Department of Social Protection or LoCall 1890 500 000 Ext 48345.
Passenger in a Car
If your vision is below a certain level you may be entitled to a disabled person’s parking card. You can display this card in any vehicle in which you travel as a passenger. The card allows the driver of the vehicle to park in designated disabled parking spaces, disc parking areas and parking meter areas for an unrestricted length of time free of charge. Once issued, this card is valid for two years. Contact theDisabled Drivers Associationor Tel: 094 9364054 or 094 9364266 or contact the Irish WheelchairAssociationor Tel: 045 893094 to apply for a disabled person’s parking card or to renew or replace your card.
Making a Comment or Complaint
If you would like to comment on any of the public transport services or make a complaint under the Disability Act 2005, please contact the access officer of the relevant organisation directly, outlined below:
Customer Relations Manager
Email: [email protected]
Dolores Henchin, Dublin Bus Accessibility
Phone: 01 703 3204
Email: [email protected]
Lynda Maguire, Project Director and Accessibility Officer
Phone: 01 703 3414
Email: [email protected]
Veolia:Dervla Brophy, Communications Manager
Phone: 01 461 4910
Email: [email protected]
RPA: Danny Vaughan, Operations Manager
Phone: 01 646 3400
Email: [email protected]
Public Transport Users’ Groups of People with Disabilities
Following the implementation of the Disability Act in 2005, public transport providers were obliged to consult with users of their services who have disabilities. Users groups were set up by each transport provider: Irish Rail, Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and luas. Each group is made up of people with disabilities who use that particular mode of transport, and a representative of the public transport provider. The main organisations representing people with disabilities – including NCBI – each appointed someone to attend each users group meeting. Each user is a regular user of the form of public transport whose meetings he or she attends. She or he can therefore speak from personal experience about using the service in question.
Our Access and Awareness Coordinator Fiona Kelty acts as coordinator of NCBI’s representatives on each of the user groups, and holds meetings with them to share information and compare progress.
If you would like to comment on any of the public transport services, please contact Fiona Kelty on 1850 33 43 53 or email [email protected]. Fiona will pass your comments on to the relevant users group representative, to be raised at the next meeting.
Fiona Kelty, NCBI Access and Awareness Coordinator, represents NCBI and the needs of passengers who are blind or vision impaired on the Maritime Travel Consultation Committee.
Elaine Howley, CEO NCBI Services, represents NCBI and the needs of passengers who are blind or vision impaired on the consultation group for air travel users with disabilities.
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
The Accessible Transport Sub-Group of British Irish Council Ministers set up a website that provides travel information to people with reduced mobility. The webpage brings together information on ferries and ferry ports, airlines and airports, car travel, bus travel, rail travel, taxi travel, community transport, accommodation, and other information on accessibility. Log on atwww.dttas.ie/AccessibleTravel/Home.html.
www.getthere.ie is a useful resource to assist you with making public transport connections. It includes Irish Rail, Bus Eireann, private buses and even local village to village buses.
Journey Planner App
The Journey Planner app www.thejournal.ie/journey-planner-iphone-app-released-507340-Jul2012/ is another useful resource.