Cina, Melbourne

 In #LifelongLockdown

I’m Cina, I have physical and neurological disabilities, chronic illnesses, lung disabilities, and severe immune compromise, my NDIS transport allowance doesn’t even meet my needs for my doctor and specialist medical appointments for my chronic infections. So this limits my social life andindependence a lot, as well as does my chronic and widespread muscle and neurological pain which is also made worse because of how inaccessible our public transport system is. No one deserves to be locked in their home forever on inaccessible tram lines and regional and rural places where there is no public transport at all, this has happened to me many times in my life. No one deserves to be left for dead trapped in the bushfires with their disability /mental health dog not allowed on coaches to escape the bushfires (when they shut down the trains for months), this happened to my close friend and my other friend had to drive me in towards the bushfires with my ventilator and lung medications to get her out of there. I shouldn’t be caught in tram and/or train doors every day, because the drivers close the doors on my body on a daily basis as I am slower to climb on. I shouldn’t be poked by hundreds of strangers on public transport asking me disrespectfully what did i do to myself, because i walk with walking aids. I shouldn’t almost die from asthma attacks from people smoking on public transport. I shouldn’t have gone flying in the air in multiple public transport road crashes, because there are no seatbelts on public transport, when I’m not able to break the falls with my legs. I shouldn’t be abused by strangers on a daily basis on public transport and by staff, because PTV have done nothing to address disability discrimination and abuse on public transport, or educate their drivers about disability travel passes. I shouldn’t be forced to walk on the roads because the surfaces at train stations and around the stations, are so slippery when it rains, that my walking aids slip out from underneath me. I shouldn’t be pushed over, or have my waking aids kicked out form underneath me on a daily basis, by people running to get the next train which means I cannot travel in peak hour as I can’t get a seat anyway.

Our government and PTV have taken no real action on any of the complaints i have made, and there remains no real action on making public transport accessible for peoples with all types of disabilities. If I had to wait on hold on the phone line for PTV complaints everyday, this would overtake my life, we need a separate disability advocacy complaints line who are faster to get onto and who can lodge the complaints on our behalf when we don’t have the energy to keep dealing with all the discrimination, hurt and pain on a daily basis. We were not consulted with at all about roll-out of Metro Tunnel, when this was another opportunity for accessibility issues to be fixed, before they get it wrong. We deserve better quality of life, we have places to go, for our education, our work, our opportunities, our families and our friends. We deserve to be treated like everyone else. Stop extending out and extending out the deadline to make public transport accessible by decades and more decades and more decades, this costs more in the long-term to not do it right from the start and fluff around in the process whilst trying to create the image of doing some things, without actually taking any real action. Anyone could wake up disabled tomorrow, and a more accessible public transport system benefits everyone and will make public transport faster and less clogged/ crowded due to population increasing and increasing amounts of peoples, children, prams, trolleys, walking frames, older peoples, walking aids, wheelchairs, scooters, toddlers, babies, bikes, homeless people loading their bags, pregnant women etc.

Our government asks us as disabled peoples to improve our work and study outcomes which are some of the worst in the whole world, when we can’t even get to work on time and for many peoples in many regional and rural and remote areas, cannot get to work at all (not even taxi’s or buses operate in many areas, and many are too severely disabled to be able to move area). Do what’s right by everyone and stop holding up us from living our lives and going places, this is blocking our capabilities, our potentials and our achievements from being realised and reached. We demand fixing our inaccessible and broken public transport system NOW for everyone and for future generations, because no one should have to be treated like this and no one should be robbed of their life, their youth or their social life forever. No one should be forced to be in life long lockdown, not here, not anywhere in the world. Many prisoners in this country get more sunshine than some disabled peoples I know, and for majority of prisoners there’s an end date for deprivation of their freedom. When you are permanently disabled, and relying on government to fix a system that never ever gets fixed, that disabled peoples have been fighting to get it fixed for decades, there is no end date for deprivation of your freedom and restriction of your movement. No one should have to experience what that is really like. #LifeLongLockdown#WeHavePlacesToGo

Melissa Horne MP (Minister for Public Transport) @melissaforwilliamstown, Luke Donnellan MP (Minister for Disabilities) @luke.donnellan, Jacinta Allan MP (Minister for Transport Infrastructure) @JacintaAllanMP

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