Blind unable to use rail ticket machines

By Mathew Dearnaley

Photo / Sarah Ivey
Photo / Sarah Ivey

Blind Aucklanders are waiting for voice prompts to be added to rail ticketing machines after months of being unable to use them.

The machines were introduced in October - but Auckland Transport says "accessibility" features costing $564,000 are three months away.

That has incensed Foundation of the Blind member John Rauner, who has complained to the police about an alleged unlawful attempt by a rail official to detain him at Britomart after he arrived without a ticket.

The vision-impaired Silverdale man says he was unable to use a ticketing machine before boarding a train at Mt Eden, so pushed aside the official.

"Auckland Transport have installed a ticketing system that is unusable by foundation members - I just thought, to hell with it, I am not making my own life harder because of the ticketing system I cannot use."

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says it can find no record of an altercation and "all customers are treated with courtesy and respect".

Mr Rauner is dismayed the Foundation of the Blind and Blind Citizens NZ turned down what Mr Hannan said was an offer of free travel for vision-impaired people - as is available in Australia.

Foundation access manager Chris Orr said both blind organisations preferred to retain a traditional 40 per cent travel discount for people with disabilities. "It's about us as people who are blind paying our way."

- NZ Herald

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