Meet Our Latest MediStays Philanthropy Partner
Travellers Aid is a Not-For-Profit service providing important travel and transport support within Melbourne. For travellers arriving at Southern Cross or Flinders Street Stations in Melbourne, a wonderful Companion service is available. It’s such peace of mind to know a Travellers Aid Volunteer can meet you at your country train. They can then accompany you on the tram or metro train to your medical appointments and accommodation.
“For over 100 years Travellers Aid has been supporting regional travellers to connect and engage with their communities. We are honoured to be the recipient of Medistays’ Philanthropy Program and to support patients travelling to Melbourne for medical appointments through our Companion service and Connection Assistance programs.” – Sara McDonald, Travellers Aid Service Development Manager
A satisfied MediStays patient shared:
“Travelling to the city for my specialist’s appointment was very overwhelming. MediStays supported me to book a nice hotel near the hospital, but I still was nervous about driving in the city traffic. My MediStays Care Navigator mentioned the wonderful volunteers at Travellers Aid, and I decided to give it a go! I caught the V-Line train from Benalla, the lovely volunteer met me at Southern Cross and showed me how to catch the tram to my hotel. What a wonderful free service for country patients.”
How does Travellers Aid Companion service work?
Whether a guest has a mobility challenge or is unfamiliar with using public transport, Travellers Aid Companion service volunteers will assist guests along the way.
The Companion service is available to people aged 18+, and for a wide variety of access needs. This includes both people who walk unassisted or with the help of a walking frame, as well as wheelchair assistance (using a Travellers Aid wheelchair).
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for the Companion service, service users must:
- Be over 18 years of age or accompanied by a parent/legal guardian
- Have their own transport costs covered
- Be able to travel independently, walk unassisted, or with the help of mobility equipment
- Be travelling to a location accessible by public transport and within Victoria
The Travellers Aid Companion service is supported by V/Line and the City of Melbourne. You can learn more about how it works here.
What other services does Travellers Aid support in Melbourne?
Travellers Aid also works directly with public transport providers to offer support and assistance to passengers during any disruptions to service. This Disruption Assistance program has been a great solution for transport provider services, especially during a time of increased upgrades.
For MediStays guests travelling from the country, it can be stressful to navigate city public transport as it is. When additional upgrades and disruptions effect the accuracy of online information, guidance and support from Travellers Aid is a huge help.
One relieved traveller shared:
“Having to travel via metro to Sunbury, changing platforms and travelling on to Bendigo with 2 suitcases, was filling me with dread. Thanks to a wonderful young lady helping me, it helped so much.”
Depending on the location and the specific needs, services can also include:
- Motorised and manual wheelchair escorts
- Personal guidance
- Buggy transportation
Travellers Aid can also offer things like luggage storage for travelling supporters. They have station lounges at two locations, with plenty of chairs and tables where people can rest, take a break from the busy areas, or eat their lunch in a quiet, friendly environment. These are fantastic hub for any weary traveller, such as family and friends supporting a MediStays guest
What this New Partnership means for MediStays guests
There are many guest scenarios where the Companion service can benefit MediStays guests.
This can include:
- Country patients travelling for treatment and appointments in Melbourne
- Participants of the NDIS wanting travel guidance and accessibility support
- Friends and family supporting as visitors or additional guests
MediStays is also integrating Travellers Aid’ service options and information info into our booking platform, website and booking process with our dedicated Care Navigator team. This means guests will be able to connect seamlessly to the travel assistance most helpful for their unique situation.
How is Travellers Aid working to make Victoria a more accessible place?
Travellers Aid also offers guidance for young adults with disability planning their first solo trip in the city.
With around one in five Australians living with disability, businesses and organisations are becoming increasingly aware of the need to improve their accessibility and inclusion practices.
Travellers Aid takes a social change approach to improve travel accessibility. They facilitate disability awareness programs that are helping make public transport, workplaces, events, and streetscapes more accessible. This involves a wide variety of individuals, employees and volunteers experiencing what public transport can be like with disability. The program includes lived experience facilitators, valuable training resources and even simulation equipment! Equipment can include vision impairment goggles, white canes, and another age-related impairment suit.
Travellers Aid shares on their blog that “while disability awareness training can only ever show a fraction of what it’s like to navigate public transport and streetscapes with disability, it remains an important experience”. It’s a great opportunity for people to ask questions and challenge some of the thinking biases that may come as part of the status quo.