Newmarket Gets Full Marks From The Blind


Here’s some good news on the new Newmarket station for an important section of our community.

Newmarket’s station is a breakthrough for blind and partially sighted people.

The Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind worked collaboratively with all parties involved from the beginning of the project to ensure accessibility measures were put in place. It says some of the accessible measures at the station include tactile indicators, colour contrast and excellent lighting.

All of these measures help blind and partially sighted travellers find their way around the station.

Newmarket is designed well for both sighted and those with sight problems

Tactile indicators are raised yellow markers on the ground. These act as directional indicators for a blind pedestrian to follow; for example at the Newmarket Rail Station these lead towards the shelter. The indicators also act as a warning or guide; in this context they show the proximity to the edge of the platform.

The high visibility yellow colour also allows partially sighted people to see them easier. The foundation says that since the introduction of tactile indicators, there has been a boom of blind travellers using the rail network. Tactile indicators give them confidence that they are heading in the right direction.

The use of colour contrast at the rail station is another accessible concept at the station, which enable partially sighted people to identify glass walls and doors. The RNZFB also provides blindness awareness training to many public transport staff to ensure transportation is accessible.

RNZFB Community Education and Information Manager Chris Orr says: “I’m rapt with the final result. It’s light and airy, under cover and easy to navigate. It will give blind and partially sighted people confidence to move around the environment within the confines of the station. The attention to detail by all involved with the design and conception of this project has been superb. Their willingness to listen and get it right from the start has been great.”

He says the foundation looks forward to working with councils and transport agencies in the future to ensure accessible transport for all people, including those who are blind and partially sighted.




  1. Matt L says:

    Its good to hear some good news about the station. We can all get to preoccupied with finding faults at times.

  2. patrick says:

    Spent the day on the trains today. NewMarket station is impressive.
    What is interesting that trains arriving from the south, west or Britomart use the platform which is available, there’s no platform designated for any direction.
    Its full on when three trains are at the station at the same time.

  3. James Pole says:

    That’s great. Newmarket is also excellent for Deaf people (such as myself) because for the first time there are electronic signs telling us which stations each train stops at.

    In the old days we had to guess where each train was going. I’ve heard many stories of Deaf people intending to get on a Waitakere-bound train (for instance) and realising when it was too late it was actually a Papakura-bound one!

  4. Jon C says:

    @James Thanks for sharing that. That is good news for you and I hope this soon becomes the norm everywhere for you. Actually one problem is at Britomart, if you are on the train and an announcement is made, such as change trains because it is now leaving from another platform, it’s impossible to hear the message as there are no speakers anywhere near.

  5. James Pole says:

    Indeed they don’t handle announcements regarding changes of equipment very well. Sometimes I see a large number of people transferring from one train to another — I’ve had to assume that was due to a change of equipment. So far I’ve been lucky that my gut instincts have been right!

    They should at least update the electronic signs and add a message below saying something to the effect of “1820 to Papakura now leaving from Platform 2″. The few times I’ve had changes of equipment occur the electronic signs were still showing the original destination…


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