Minister Shane Ross today announced that the National Transport Authority (NTA) is to provide funding for the development by the NCBI (National Council for the Blind Ireland) of a National Transport Training Centre (NTTC) which will provide training and familiarisation across all public transport modes.
Minister Ross made the announcement as part of today’s Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport on the accessibility of public transport for people with disabilities.
Minister Ross said: “This facility will empower and prepare those with accessibility needs to confidently use public transport. I hope this state-of-the-art centre will give confidence to those who might otherwise hesitate before using their local bus, train or tram.”
The NCBI developed the proposals for the construction of the NTTC which will be the world’s largest and most extensive training centres, supporting not only individual and group training opportunities, but additionally supporting user and design testing, increasing public awareness, and informing standardisation and consistency in public transport accessibility.
The primary goal of the NTTC is to provide short-term comprehensive instruction, designed to teach people with disabilities how to travel safely and independently using public transportation. Full size replicas of bus, train and tram vehicles will be used to familiarise users with how to safely and confidently use these modes on a day-to-day basis. Examples of road junction crossings and on-street pedestrian facilities will also be available. Training will also extend to transport agency staff and other key stakeholders.
Chris White, NCBI CEO, said: “We are delighted to be working with the NTA around the development of a National Transport Training Centre. There is a strong need for such a centre to educate, train and trial ways to improve public transport for all people with disabilities not just those with a visual impairment. We will be in a stronger position in a few weeks’ time to outline the location, facilities and details involved in the National Transport Training Centre.”
Funding for the development will be provided under the Accessibility Programme operated by the NTA on behalf of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and it is expected that the development work on the centre will be completed during next year.