Railing over tram access
Mobility issues hamper public transport users
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.