Every platform on the Frankston line will soon be fitted with new ramps enabling people with mobility aids to board trains independently and more easily, Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder announced today.
In conjunction with this great initiative, Mr Mulder announced that ‘no-cyclist’ signs will be painted on the platform to prevent cyclists boarding at the first door of the first carriage.
“This great idea came about when Patterson Lakes resident Bill Walstab attended Kingston Cabinet on 18 November 2013. Mr Walstab raised the issue of bikes crowding the first carriage and leaving no space for people with mobility aids to board,” Mr Mulder said.
“It’s great that the Victorian Coalition Government listened to Mr Walstab and, as a result, PTV have come up with this innovative and fantastic solution.”
Funded as part of the $115 million Bayside Rail Project, the $4.5 million initiative to build ramps will allow wheelchair and other mobility aid users to enter the first door of the first carriage of trains unassisted, giving them greater independence.
“The new ramps will provide a terrific boost to the independence and accessibility of people in the community with special needs,” Mr Mulder said.
“People using wheelchairs and motorised scooters will be able to enter and leave the first carriage of trains easily and safely without needing the assistance of a train driver.
“The ramps have a rubberised ‘finger’ that neatly closes the gap between the platform and the train carriage.”
Mr Mulder was joined by Member for Carrum, Donna Bauer, and Mr Walstab to inspect the first ramp to be installed at Carrum station.
“The ramps will give mobility aid users greater freedom and confidence to travel on public transport without feeling like they are holding up hundreds of people while they board or alight,” Mr Walstab said.
Ms Bauer said the wheelchair stencil and signage would be progressively rolled out to other lines on the metropolitan and regional network.
“This roll out will help make sure that the first carriage is reserved for people who really need it,” Ms Bauer said.
“The boarding ramps will also assist with the punctual running of trains, as drivers will less often need to exit the cabin to assist passengers.
“This innovation builds on the Napthine Government’s $115 million transformation of the Frankston line that will improve its accessibility, reliability, safety and amenity.”
Minister for Disability Services and Reform Mary Wooldridge said the innovative new boarding ramps were in line with the intent of the Victorian State Disability Plan 2013-16 which focuses on improving the lives of people with disability, their families and carers.
“The work on the Frankston line demonstrates the Napthine Government’s commitment to working in a more effective way to deliver an inclusive Victorian society,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Mr Mulder said the Bayside Rail project was on track for existing X-Trapolis trains to run in coming months and eight new X-Trapolis trains to operate by late 2015.
“A host of improvements to the safety, amenity and accessibility of stations along the line have already been completed, with all station works on track for completion by the end of 2014,” Mr Mulder said.
Mr Mulder also welcomed the beginning of Rail Safety Week starting today and running until 17 August.
“Rail Safety Week will raise awareness and knowledge about the potentially devastating consequences of not being cautious and not obeying rules around the train and tram network,” Mr Mulder said.Read the full story... (off-site)