Small Business uses Travel Choices to provide quality service
16 January, 2020

Travel Choices awards

When it comes to creating travel behaviour change, flexibility and innovative thinking are key must-haves for any organisation.

This has certainly been true for James ‘Buck’ McFarlane’s unique small business Cocky Guides, which organises multisensory day trips in and around Sydney for blind and visually impaired individuals.  

In October, Mr McFarlane attended the 2019 Transport for NSW Travel Choices Awards, which recognise the work organisations and individuals in Sydney have been doing to keep everyone moving by implementing and promoting the reduce, remode, retime and reroute principles.

Cocky Guides received a special mention in this year’s awards for providing the blind and low vision community with opportunities to explore Sydney in an engaging, enjoyable, safe and accessible way.

Since launching in August 2018, Cocky Guides has supported over 250 vision impaired passengers with access to high-quality, safe and affordable sensory experiences in Sydney and surrounding areas.

“After working in the tourism industry for more than a decade I noticed that while many deaf people and people on the autistic spectrum travelled, I hadn’t come across a blind traveller,” founder James ‘Buck’ McFarlane said.

With the unique needs of their customers, Cocky Guides recognised the need to approach the way they use accessible transport from a new and innovative way.

For their customers to get the most out of their experiences, Buck decided that using conventional modes of transport to get to their destinations was not going to produce the best results or experience.

“We saw that traveling in peak time or in some cases using a bus to travel to each destination wasn’t helping our customer’s get the most out of our tours,” Buck said.

Cocky Guides’ freestyle product range includes trips from Sydney’s CBD to areas around Manly, Katoomba and Kiama. Each trip uses multiple modes of public transport and purposely retimes these journeys to outside peak travel times or reroutes the journey so the tour group is traveling in the opposite direction to the majority of commuters.

Through their creative use of public transport and the Travel Choices principles, Buck has been able to create a unique product range which provides customers with the best experience, ensures high quality service and keeps Cocky Guides and Sydney moving.

“Being recognised by Transport for NSW and the Travel Choices team is a great achievement for us and we’re looking forward to continuing to use the Travel Choices principles into the future to make sure our customers are getting the most out of our experiences” Buck said.

Transport for NSW Coordinator General Steve Issa said organisations across Sydney had recognised the benefits and backed the Travel Choices program one hundred per cent.

“The Sydney business community continues to amaze us with their support for Tomorrow’s Sydney and Cocky Guides is a great example of a business really embodying the spirit of Travel Choices and setting a great example for keeping Sydney moving during this period of unprecedented growth.”

To find out more about Cocky guides visit cockyguides.com.au/Tours

To find out how Travel Choices can help your business visit mysydney.nsw.gov.au/travel-choices

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