Reform of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Transport Standards)

Access to public transport is critical for people to work or study, visit family and friends, and access critical services such as healthcare. This is why the Australian Government  has decided to reform the Transport Standards. The reforms aim to improve public transport accessibility and remove discrimination against people with disability. The reforms were developed in collaboration with people with disability, the public transport industry and state and territory governments.

The Department developed Decision Regulation Impact Statements (Decision RIS) for both stages of the reform, which outline the options for each reform area, findings from the public consultation, the costs and benefits for each option, and a preferred option. The chosen option can be different from the preferred option. The Decision RIS identifies where this has happened.

The decision summary document outlines the reform process and the chosen option for each of the 76 reform areas at a high level. The decision summary is available here:

The Stage 1 and Stage 2 Decision RIS' are available here:

Supporting documents and translations are available below.

Next steps

The Transport Standards will be updated to reflect the new requirements where a legislative change has been chosen. Once drafted, the updated legislation will be tabled in parliament. After the legislation is tabled, the updated Transport Standards will come into force. Information will be available to users and operators and providers of public transport in the lead up to the updated Transport Standards coming into effect.

In addition to changes to the Transport Standards, there will be changes to the guidance material that supports the Transport Standards: the Transport Standards Guidelines and the Whole Journey Guide. The Transport Standards Guidelines help operators and providers of public transport understand their responsibilities under the Transport Standards. The Whole Journey Guide helps operators and providers think beyond compliance with the Transport Standards, and to how they can make travelling on public transport a more accessible experience. Updates to this supporting material will occur alongside the legislation updates. More information will be available in the lead up to the release of new guidance.

Frequently asked questions

The Transport Standards were introduced in 2002 to provide certainty to operators and providers of public transport services about their responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. There have been significant changes in public transport technology and usage since the Transport Standards came into effect over twenty years ago, including the use of rideshare services, electronic ticketing, and greater availability of passenger information delivered online and in real-time. As such, there is a need to modernise the Transport Standards to meet Australians’ current and future needs.

The Department is working to draft the updated Transport Standards. Once drafted, an exposure draft will be released for public consultation. The Department will also work with people with disability to update the Transport Standards Guidelines and Whole Journey Guide.

Some reform areas were agreed in principle or required further work. To conduct this further work, the Department will establish working groups with people with disability, industry and government. Working groups will be established for the following reform areas:

  • Braille (reform areas 15 and 16)
  • Removable gangways (reform area 42)
  • Hearing augmentation (reform areas 9 and 10)
  • Reporting (reform area 1)
  • Point-to-point transport (reform area 3).

Once the updated Transport Standards are in force, some of the existing requirements will be maintained, while some will be updated. There will be no changes to the compliance dates set out in Schedule 1 of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002. The reforms do not provide existing assets within any additional time to comply with the current requirements of the Transport Standards.

The National Accessible Transport Taskforce (the Taskforce) was convened to identify issues raised by the disability community, governments and the operators and providers of public transport. The Taskforce included government, industry and disability community representatives.

Working groups under the Taskforce consulted with relevant stakeholders to further understand the issues. These issues were considered by the Taskforce and recommended to the National Accessible Transport Steering Committee (the Steering Committee) for endorsement. Following endorsement from the Steering Committee, working groups under the Taskforce developed policy options to address these issues. Policy options were then recommended to the Steering Committee for endorsement to be presented for public consultation.

The Department acknowledges there are linkages between this reform process and the 2022 review that is currently underway. The reform process was born out of recommendations from past reviews of the Transport Standards and consulted on a set of specific reform areas to address these recommendations.

The separate 2022 review is assessing whether the current Transport Standards are working effectively and if further reforms are required.

The primary role of the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) is to ensure all relevant information is presented to the decision maker when a decision is being made. A Decision RIS presents preferred policy options to the decision maker based on detailed cost-benefit analysis and consultation with stakeholders.

A Consultation RIS is prepared for consulting stakeholders and includes proposed regulatory and non-regulatory options as well as a detailed cost-benefit analysis. Feedback is welcome on any aspect of the analysis presented in the Consultation RIS. For example, stakeholders could provide feedback on whether the description of the problem is correct or to suggest other viable policy options. Comments on a Consultation RIS assists the preparation of a Decision RIS for decision-makers.

Each Consultation RIS and Decision RIS is assessed by the Office of Impact Analysis to ensure it meets the standard required to support evidence-based decision-making.

Multiple reform areas address aviation accessibility such as staff training, website accessibility and accessible taxi ranks (such as those at airports). Further work to address aviation accessibility will be considered once the findings of the 2022 review of the Transport Standards are published.

Supporting documents and translations

Easy Read is sometimes called Easy English or simple English. Easy Read format presents information in a way that is easy to understand.

The Decision Summary is available in Easy Read here:

The Decision Summary is available in Auslan here:

The Decision Summary is available in languages other than English here:

Further supporting documentation can be requested via email at or telephone on 1800 621 372.


The reform process has been undertaken in two stages. Stage 1 identified 16 areas of reform, and public consultations were held in early-2021. Feedback from this consultation was used to inform the Stage 1 Decision Regulation Impact Statement (RIS), which was considered by infrastructure and transport ministers in February 2022. Stage 2 considered 60 reform areas and implementation arrangements for the full package of reforms (Stage 1 and 2). Public consultations were held in mid-2022. Feedback from this consultation was used to inform the Stage 2 Decision RIS, which was considered by infrastructure and transport ministers in June 2023.

The four guiding principles for the reforms were:

  1. People with disability have a right to access public transport
  2. Accessibility is a service, not an exercise in compliance
  3. Solutions should meet the service needs of all stakeholders and be developed through co design
  4. Reforms should strive for certainty