A number of Society members were able to experience the lightrail platform and a stationary Light Rail Vehicle. Below are the observations of two members to assist all members.
Stephanie Creaser – White Cane user
My observations as a white cane public transport user.
- Myway sanners are located outside the tram on the boarding platform. You must tap on and off there. No card scanners inside tram.
- There is Myway card terminals located on the platform to recharge or buy a single trip ticket.
- If you have the Travel Pass (without the chip to tap off and off) there are CMet officers on the platforms who will assist. It is recommended that you apply for a new Mycard/Travel Pass with the facility to tap on and off. This information will assist Transport Canberra with how often people travel, when, where, demographic, disabilities so they can structure schedules and improve services. Such as, more frequent trams during special events or peak times.
- Gungahlin residents, Myway card can be bought at the newsagent, near Woolworths, Access Canberra, apply online or renew over the phone. People with a disability need fill in a form to apply, as they travel at no cost, make sure you tick and carer and include passport size photo - card may take up to 5 days to arrive.
- Seats 66 passengers and lots of designated spaces for guide dogs, wheelchairs, bikes and prams.
- Red seats at front and middle of tram reserved for people with disabilities.
- Tactiles along edge of tram platform for white cane users, also along path and traffic crossing to bus station.
- Tram boarding from middle of platform near platform seating highlighted with a wheelchair symbol on ground has seating for people with disabilities, prams and bikes (4).
- For everyone, (except those who qualify for a disabilities Myway card, who travel at no cost ) - All travel within 90 minutes, after 1st swipe of Mywaycard is included in the 1st swipe. Need to still tag on and off. Example bus and tram to city = one price.
- Enter and exiting the tram, small step up to enter, and must press large round raised button on sliding door. Doors do not open automatically when tram stops at platform (for climate control in Canberra weather)
- Tram stops at each platform, no need to signal required stop (like the bus). There are announcements when tram is leaving the platform and advises next platform stop.
- Inside tram, lots of Visual screens displaying upcoming tram stops.
- Inside tram, lots of red hand rails.
- Near Myway scanners on platform there are two buttons. The red buttons inside tram and on platform are for emergencies. There will be CMet people to assist.
- On the platform, The green button, top button, when pressed, advises the Platform eg. This the Gungahlin Platform and the next tram travelling to Alinga Street (city) arrives in 1 minute.
- Takes average 24 minutes to travel from Gungahlin into the City. Currently, it takes me 35-45minutes travelling by bus in morning traffic.
- 20 April light rail starts, in time for Folk Festival at Epic. 1st month, free travel.
Many thanks Scott for the opportunity to familiarise myself with the Gungahlin light rail. Thanks Nicola, from CMet who patiently guided and answered all my questions. Thanks everyone involved for the kindness and courtesy for giving up your time.
I will look forward to using Canberra's light rail.
Can't wait for it to connect to other town centres.
Cameron Roles – Dog Guide Handler
My thanks for CBS and Canberra Metro for giving me the opportunity to familiarise myself with the light rail vehicle. I am writing this having had the benefit of seeing Stephanie's description, so I have not repeated things she has covered. I am also writing as a dog guide user.
I'll begin by describing the platform at Gungahlin. It is located in the middle of what used to be Hibbeson street, in the block between Gungahlin Place and Hinder street, where Aldi and Coles are. I've been told that this block will not have cars using it any more. If you want to reach the platform, you can cross at the pedestrian crossing on the corner of Hibberson Street and Gungahlin Place, or the crossing which runs between Aldi and the Coles building. Whichever crossing you use, you go to the middle of the crossing and turn either left or right – depending on which end you are coming from – to access the platform.
Each side of the platform is designated with tactile markings. There is a small drop off the edge of the platform to the tram tracks (about 50 cm). This shouldn't be a problem, as the tactile markers clearly show where the edge is, but I just want to let you know that there is a small drop off on each side of the platform, and no physical barrier to stop you stepping off.
The platform is rectanglular. There are two lots of seats in the middle – and these are supposed to line up with the double doors on the tram when it arrives at the stop (I'll explain the significance of the double doors in a moment). There is what is called a help point on the platform which will tell you upcoming tram arrivals and also enable you to call for assistance. The help point is marked with braille and large print.
Let me describe the tram. It is one long, rectangular vehicle. Starting at the back and moving forward, there is a single set of doors, then as you proceed toward the front there are two lots of double doors evenly spaced apart, and then a further set of single doors at the front. I would recommend you access the tram through either of the sets of double doors, as the accessible seating is right beside these doors. Be aware that when you step inside the double doors, immediately in front of you in the middle of the tram isle, is a pole for people to hold onto. It starts as one pole at ground level, but spans out into two poles as it rises toward the roof. So if you are looking for the accessible seats, my advice is to not walk toward the middle of the
tram corridor but instead to look along the edges of the tram once you are inside the door.
At each set of double doors there is a single accessible seat facing into the middle of the tram. Right next to the single accessible seat are 8 non-priority seats, four on each side of the tram. Two face forward and two face backward on either side of the tram. Dog guides can slide under either the accessible seat, or the non-priority seats adjacent to the isle. They can't slide under the non-priority seats adjacent to the window, because the seats are held up by metal brackets which attach to the wall on the window sides of the tram, and these brackets slope toward the floor meaning that the dog guide can't slide under the seat. Likewise dog guides can't slide under the other seats on the tram, as they don't have space under them. What this means in practice is that seating is quite limited for dog gide users.
If you are a dog guide user, I would recommend you sit in either the accessible seat, or the non-priority seat immediately adjacent to the accessible seat, on the isle. This is because, at various points along the tram, there are grates covering articulation joints which essentially allow the tram to bend around corners. The metal beside each of these grates moves, which could create a hazard for a dog guide's paws.
I hope this is useful, and I'm very much looking forward to the tram commencing operation.