Australia has 960 train stations, and by the end of 2017, each state was required to have ensured that 90 per cent of their stations met accessibility standards. “Across the country, we would be at best 50 per cent compliance to those standards,” said Susie Pascoe, CEO of Sterling Infrastructure — a company that delivers services across Australia’s rail network and assesses the accessibility of stations and walkways around trains.
Closing date: June 30, 2023
The Transport Standards provide requirements for public transport operators and providers to make their services accessible and remove discrimination for people with disability. A discussion paper is available and includes guiding questions to help you provide input and prompt your views and experiences on different areas of the Transport Standards. Public consultation events will be announced early 2023.
“In terms of Victoria, it seems like people with disability are seen as a problem that the taxi industry would prefer not to deal with,” he says. “We just want to live our lives — they have to provide services to people with disabilities.”. Mr O’Malley is planning to make a complaint to VCAT and Commercial Passenger Vehicles Victoria (now known as Safe Transport Victoria).
Many disabled passengers are left stranded and without any relief in sight, as the airlines continually refuse to provide accessible air travel. Wheelchair passengers are especially at risk, as these airlines do not provide assistance when boarding or disembarking aircraft.
“We need public transport to be accessible to everyone, otherwise it’s not public transport at all.” Contact your MP and let them know how important it is that every member of our community is included. Over the last four years infrastructure upgrades have been taking place at a glacial speed. Social inclusion is vital, and as a society we cannot tolerate discrimination anymore. The next government can put things right once and for all!
VIDEO: Millions of Australians living with a disability have no access to public transport. Wheelchair taxis are an essential service, but in regional Australia they can be difficult to find.
“I travel a lot, but never without fear,” she says. “It sounds awful, but I just expect the worst, then I plan what I’ll do if the worst happens – if I wet myself, if I’m stranded, if I’m dropped, if my chair is damaged. I’m always kind of in a state of distress.”
Snaking queues, cancelled flights and lost suitcases have been the story of air travel this year, but passengers with disabilities say they are falling through the cracks of the current wave of chaos at Australian airports, with some saying they feel humiliated as they’re forced to stand or sit on the floor waiting for wheelchairs.
Akii was on a high, returning home via Adelaide from Australian Fashion Week in Sydney, where they participated as a model in the “Fix The System Not Me” adaptive clothing collective show. But Akii said that when they were being transported in the airline’s wheelchair through Adelaide Airport, Jetstar staff seemed to lack experience when handling people who required mobility support.
Former disability discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes is spearheading a fight to change the way people with disabilities are treated by airports and airlines after feeling “sick in the stomach” and “humiliated” when he passed through security at Adelaide Airport.
“It was very frustrating,” Jordan says. “The ideal is perfectly level access where you don’t need to rely on a driver to put down a ramp, you just drive your wheelchair straight on the train. They can do it in Atlanta, they can do it in Perth, they can do it in a lot of places around the world.”
The Andrews Labor Government has created a new Chief Accessibility Advocate role to provide advice and help improve accessibility across the Victorian transport network. Tricia Malowney OAM has been appointed in the new role. In addition, Liz Ellis has been appointed to the role of chair of the Accessible Transport Advisory Committee, with two new committee members, Melissa Hale and Martin Stewart, as well as the reappointment of Mark Tomkins.
Walking is the main way people get to bus stops, with 94% of users in Melbourne walking all or part of the way. This report – Getting to the Bus Stop (2021) – provides a comprehensive analysis of the safety and amenity of access to bus stops in Victoria.
But for those living with a disability easy access to accessible parking is not only desirable, but essential. And a new survey from the Australian Network on Disability found 80 per cent of respondents believed accessing suitable parking space was critical.
Commuters who use wheelchairs are taking legal action against the Victorian government and Melbourne’s tram operator over their failure to keep pace with federal standards for accessible public transport.