PUBLIC Transport Ombudsman Janine Young will visit Ararat on Thursday to discuss the region’s public transport.
V-Line, Public Transport Victoria and Travellers Aid will also attend.
Ms Young said she would start with a presentation about her role.
Topics will include what the Public Transport Ombudsman can and can’t investigate, and the investigation process.
Discussion will start at 9.30am in the Ararat Municipal Offices.
“The purpose of the session is to raise awareness,” Ms Young said.
She anticipated the session would allow people to discuss how they felt about public transport in the Wimmera.
Her visit coincides with the release of a study of the state’s public transport accessibility.
Called Closing the Accessibility Gap, the report was based on 172 complaints the Public Transport Ombudsman received throughout 2011 and 2012.
It revealed that people who relied on public transport were often unable, reluctant or unwilling to complain when things went wrong.
“We know from our consultations and research that complaints about accessibility issues are significantly under reported,” Ms Young said.
She said the data she had gathered showed systemic ways ‘a significant number’ of public transport users were being let down.
“Our review found that poor customer service and inadequate or ineffective information provisions can be as great a barrier to accessibility as outdated infrastructure,” Ms Young wrote in the report’s executive summary.
Her report also made 14 recommendations to improve Victoria’s public transport.
Among them were developing standardised training for all customer service staff and developing minimum industry standards for customer assistance.
The report also suggested a best practice standard be developed to indicate how real-time information about service changes was publicised.