For people living with a disability, navigating a bustling city can be a real challenge. Imagine having no sight, so reading street signs isn’t an option. Picture living in a wheelchair, so getting on and off public transport is a task in itself.
A few decades ago, this is the type of city people living with disabilities would have had to navigate. Thankfully, times have changed! Since 2012, Brisbane City Council has been working hard to create a city that’s accessible and inclusive for all.
Our public transport facilities have had a major overhaul. Low-floor buses have replaced the old fleet, so drivers now have the ability to lower the bus when it approaches a bus stop. The driver also has a ramp that they can then use to help people up onto the bus, whether they’re elderly or in a wheelchair. Our CityCats and terminals are the first in Australia to have a fully compliant gangway for a tidal river.
Brisbane is also home to Australia’s longest Braille trail, which runs through Queen Street Mall and beyond. Our city also now has around 40 parks and playgrounds that provide different kinds of play experiences based on different impairments children might have.
“With our consultation with residents living with a disability, a lot of what they said to us was that they want to have independence with what they do,” explained Brisbane City Councillor, Peter Matic. “They don’t want to have to rely on others to do their day-to-day activities.
“For us — ultimately, it’s about meeting the needs of all of the members of our community, making them independent, giving them the opportunities to enjoy our city and making sure that they’re as included as anyone else throughout Brisbane.”