Rail­ing over tram ac­cess

Mo­bil­ity is­sues ham­per pub­lic trans­port users

Herald Sun - - NEWS - RE­BECCA DAVID re­[email protected]

LESS than a quar­ter of Mel­bourne’s tram stops meet le­gal ac­ces­si­bil­ity re­quire­ments in­tro­duced al­most two decades ago, dis­abil­ity ad­vo­cacy groups say.

Un­der the Stan­dards for Ac­ces­si­ble Pub­lic Trans­port 2002, at least 90 per cent of all ve­hi­cles and stops were re­quired to be ac­ces­si­ble by De­cem­ber 2017.

Vic­to­rian Coun­cil of So­cial Ser­vices (VCOSS) chief ex­ec­u­tive Emma King said the state was fail­ing to meet its own tar­gets.

“The cost to our com­mu­nity is huge,” she said.

“Pub­lic trans­port bar­ri­ers are keep­ing peo­ple out of work, stop­ping their ed­u­ca­tion and cut­ting them off from the kinds of op­por­tu­ni­ties the rest of us take for granted.”

A Dis­abil­ity Re­source Cen­tre re­port high­lighted that the ma­jor­ity of Mel­bourne’s tram stops were not ac­ces­si­ble — with raised plat­forms to en­able wheel­chair users to en­ter trams on their own — even when the routes where ser­viced by low-floor trams.

“There were sev­eral re­ports of peo­ple be­ing able to board at one stop, but not able to exit the tram at their pre­ferred des­ti­na­tion, re­sult­ing in the tram user hav­ing to re­main on the tram to the end of the route and re­turn to their orig­i­nal stop,” the re­port said.

On the flip side, not enough low-floor trams were be­ing used on routes with ac­ces­si­ble stops.

DRC ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Kerri Cas­sidy said mak­ing more tram stops ac­ces­si­ble would not only help wheelchair­users, but also pas­sen­gers with prams, lug­gage and shop­ping bug­gies.

VCOSS is work­ing with 40 dis­abil­ity groups on the Em­pow­ered Lives cam­paign lob­by­ing for more gov­ern­ment fund­ing to make the state’s pub­lic trans­port sys­tem more ac­ces­si­ble.

Pub­lic Trans­port Min­is­ter Melissa Horne said the state gov­ern­ment was up­grad­ing the pub­lic trans­port sys­tem to cre­ate a mod­ern, ac­ces­si­ble net­work.

Pub­lic Trans­port Vic­to­ria chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Jeroen Weimar said de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about all ac­ces­si­bil­ity fea­tures at sta­tions and stops was pub­lished on the PTV web­site.

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