The Victorian Auditor General, in his Public Transport Performance Audit Report released today, has called on the Department of Transport (DoT) to improve its delivery of accessible transport, and to pay as much attention to buses as it does to trains and trams.’
‘While trains and trams receive the most attention, buses are the only public transport available where most Victorians live. This is especially true for people experiencing disadvantage, who are more likely to live in outer suburbs and rural and regional areas,’ said Llewellyn Reynders, VCOSS Transport and Disadvantage Policy Analyst.
‘Many bus routes in outer Melbourne only run once an hour, and in some rural areas the bus only runs once a week, if at all. These poor quality services cannot link together to provide a strong, connected service that people need to get the paces they want to go’.
The Auditor-General has also called for DoT to go beyond a compliance approach to accessibility, and focus on actually improving usability for passengers.
This involves developing better accessibility measures to better understand accessibility outcomes. ‘These reform proposals echo VCOSS message in the report Creating Accessible Journeys.
‘The creation of the new Public Transport Development Authority is a fantastic opportunity for the Government to adopt new approaches that will improve public transport for all, and particularly for people with disabilities and people living in areas only served by buses’, says Mr Reynders.
‘If implemented, these reforms would avoid mistakes like Laverton station which resulted from focusing only on meeting minimum standards without understanding the needs of station users.
‘VCOSS welcomes the Auditor-General’s report and agrees that while there has been a positive change in direction on some of these issues, much more will need to be done to achieve a public transport system that is available and accessible for all Victorians.’
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