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Making the Australian Open more accessible to all tennis fans

3 min read
Australian Open

Yarra Trams will scale up its partnership with Traveller’s Aid Australia and work with Tennis Australia to support passengers travelling by tram to the Australian Open 2022.

Set up around key transport and sporting hubs, such as Flinders Street Station, John Cain Arena, and Rod Laver Arena, trained Traveller’s Aid volunteers and Yarra Trams employees will be on hand to assist people from regular train and other tram services onto the tram services to and from Melbourne Park.

Traveller’s Aid’s Chief Executive Officer, Elias Lebbos said, “Travellers Aid is excited to once again be collaborating with Yarra Trams and Tennis Australia to further enhance accessibility and inclusion at one of Melbourne’s premier events, The Australian Open. Our aim is to enable people of all abilities to connect, participate and engage in everything Melbourne has to offer. Can’t think of a better event to start this in 2022 then the AO.”

Tennis Australia’s dedicated accessibility page, linked from both the Traveller’s Aid and Yarra Tram’s webpages, will include information to support those with accessibility or mobility requirements getting to and moving around Melbourne Park.

Yarra Trams’ Chief Executive Julien Dehornoy said, ”

“The Australian Open is one of the biggest events we host in Melbourne, drawing spectators from across the country and the world.

“Some of the fans travelling to Melbourne Park to see tennis’ biggest stars compete may need assistance getting to-and-from the event, so it was natural for us to continue our partnership with Traveller’s Aid and Tennis Australia to ensure every journey for every one of our passengers is a Grand Slam.”

The program will see Traveller’s Aid provide access support for Australian Open patrons living with disabilities or experiencing mobility challenges, as well as more direct transport support on motorised buggies and bikes. Tennis Australia and Yarra Trams will assist by identifying passengers in need of support and matching them with Traveller’s Aid volunteers. The service will run daily during the tournament.

“The Australian Open is one of the biggest events in Melbourne and this partnership will ensure safe and accessible transport for all Victorians to go and see the world’s best tennis stars.” Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll, said.

“Everyone deserves safe and accessible transport options and we will continue to work with operators, community groups and locals to help drive solutions and identify how we can make our transport network better for everyone.”

The accessibility app BindiMaps will also be utilised for the partnership. BindiMaps works by installing wayfinding beacons for vision impaired people within the Australian Open precinct including key locations highlighted within the app, such as meeting points for Traveller’s Aid transport support volunteers. These meeting points will be clearly marked with large A-frames and business cards will be distributed with the Traveller’s Aid dedicated support number for the event with instructions on how to download the App.

Connection assistance in the vicinity of the Australian Open precinct will be available from:

  • Stop 7A William Barak Bridge
  • Stop 7B Rod Laver Arena
  • Stop 7C John Cain Arena
  • Stop 7D Olympic Boulevard
  • The accessible car park in Eastern Plaza carpark to the Grand Slam Oval entrance via a buggy transfer service

This is the second year in a row Yarra Trams has partnered with Traveller’s Aid for the Australian Open. Additionally, in late June 2021, Travellers Aid came on board to deliver mobility services around major renewal works along St Kilda Rd – from Southbank Boulevard to Flinders Street. During this collaboration more than 1,250 people used the service.

Anna Livingston, Chief Diversity and People Officer of Tennis Australia, said, “Every year we strive to make our event more accessible for everyone, and this collaboration with Traveller’s Aid and Yarra Trams is another example of how the AO is diversifying our partnerships to benefit all members of our community.”

“Tennis is truly a diverse sport, with people of all backgrounds and abilities playing and enjoying our great game on a regular basis, and we need to ensure that our event is as welcoming and accessible as possible for everyone.

There are a number of initiatives in place to ensure the public transport network is clean and safe, including enhanced deep cleaning on board all trains, trams and buses every night, and extra sanitisation at stops, stations and high-touch surfaces. Passengers are reminded to wear a mask and check in using the QR codes across the network.

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Lourdes Antenor is an experienced writer who specialises in the not-for-profit sector and its affiliations. She is the content producer for Third Sector News, an online knowledge-based platform for and about the Australian NFP sector.


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