EASST Launches New Online Disability Awareness Training course for Public Transport Managers in Low and Middle Income Countries

EASST Launches New Online Disability Awareness Training course for Public Transport Managers in Low and Middle Income Countries

Across the world, many people with disabilities and reduced mobility are excluded from social and economic life due to inaccessible transport systems.

Disability Awareness can bring a number of benefits to public transport companies.

This short online course, available via the EASST Academy training platform, offers an introduction to Disability Awareness and will help managers understand how to make public transport services more accessible and inclusive of the needs of people with disabilities so they can travel independently and with confidence.

The course has been developed by the Eastern Alliance for Safe and Sustainable Transport (EASST) with financial support from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and in consultation with FIA Clubs, local disability groups in pilot countries, and a Voluntary Advisory Committee of experts from across the UK and Europe. It offers practical guidance on how to better understand and support passengers with different types of disability with video testimony, reading materials, presentations, and quizzes.

The course was piloted last year by EASST partners and FIA Club members in Belarus, Moldova, and Azerbaijan in partnership with local disability groups.

A critical aspect of the course is the involvement of people with disabilities, sharing their experiences of using bus and trolleybus services and how they think things can be improved.

The course itself has built on these experiences to offer practical guidance on how to better understand and support passengers with different types of disabilities, emphasising the importance of stakeholder consultations, as well as explaining how an inclusive public transport strategy can boost business.

The training has been warmly welcomed by both companies and transport users in each pilot country:

National Automobile Club of Azerbaijan (AMAK)

“Organisation of such trainings is very beneficial for us since we are reminded that disability is not only related to a wheelchair. Moreover, such trainings create a communication bridge between people with disabilities and public transport representatives.”

Lilian Copaci, General Department of Public Transport and Communications, Moldova

“Such training is very useful for us and for the administration of trolleybus and bus fleets, but also for drivers and conductors. With the help of such thematic trainings, we are reminded of the issues of people with disabilities and other citizens in public transport. In turn, we are happy to help improving the situation, meetings with groups of people with disabilities are still being held, but as a result of such training, we had the opportunity to bring to the surface/agenda issues related to ensuring accessibility to public transport, especially during a pandemic. I believe that it is also necessary to cover these problems in mass media in order to inform the population and form public opinion and perception. After all, people also need to understand each other’s needs and help people with disabilities, as well as the same drivers or conductors of public transport.”

Vitalie Mester, Director of the Center for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Moldova

“I think that such a training is very informative and useful, it should be carried out to all drivers, conductors, as well as responsible persons, not only in Chisinau, but throughout the Republic. It is very good that the first modules of the training were devoted to the theory and introduction to the problematic, explaining who people with disabilities are and how they feel. Because, not every person is aware of what is happening next to other people in public transport, not only to those who have obvious visible disability problems. Practical exercises and illustrative examples are also very helpful and important, they helped the participants to “play” the role of people with special needs. It is also good that the issue of creating an advisory group was raised, it already exists at the local level, but not always effectively, now it is planned to create an accessibility council within the city hall, it is possible to include the problems of public transport there.”

As well as being available online 24/7, course materials and guidance notes for trainers are available to download and use offline on the EASST Academy website

Cities that are accessible and inclusive of the needs of people with disabilities are also safer and more user-friendly for all families with pushchairs, elderly people, women, children, and even tourists. Accessible cities make people – not cars – the first priority, and in so doing are better for all road users.

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