Under the Equality Act 20101 it is unlawful for a service provider to discriminate by offering a lower standard of service to deaf people. This means that public transport systems planners must fully consider the needs of deaf people.
Scottish Council on Deafness recommends that:
1. Deaf people should have full involvement in the planning, priority setting, provision and monitoring of local, regional and national public transport services.
2. When developing new technologies for use on public transport, the Scottish Government, public bodies and transport providers should carry out and publish Equality Impact Assessments2 on the needs of all deaf people.
3. Information about public transport should be available in a variety of accessible formats.3
4. Telecommunications should be accessible, meaning that deaf people can easily contact transport providers via SMS, textphone, fax, email or BT TextRelay. These should be well publicised.
5. When providing audio information in stations and on trains and buses in terminals and on ferries, visual displays should also be provided. This includes on platforms, waiting areas, in cafes and toilets.
6. Where barriers are used to limit access to car parks, an alternative to intercom contact should be provided for deaf people. This might mean having a person present in a booth to provide equality of access for deaf people and other people with communication needs.
7. Transport provider websites should be accessible with non-text versions. All public information videos and DVDs should be signed and captioned.
8. All ticket desks/kiosks should have a working loop system. If this is not possible, at least one must have a working loop system and this should be the default desk/kiosk when only one can be open.
9. Booking clerks, ticket inspectors, conductors and bus drivers should receive accredited deaf and deafblind awareness training and communication skills training; this should be provided both in in-service training and on a regular basis.
10. Radio announcements regarding motorway accidents and other incidents should also be provided on websites and other sources such as mobile phone applications.
1 For more about this Act, please see our Information Sheet entitled Equality Act 2010
2 See our Information Sheet on Terminology
3 Please see our Position Statement on Access to Information and our Information Sheet entitled Accessible Information