The Countdown Begins: 500 DAYS to Ensure Public Transport is Accessible for All
Our Public Transport system should be accessible to all Victorians but it’s failing people with disabilities.
For over forty years people with disabilities have been campaigning for the same access to transport as everyone else, but we still have a very long way to go.
Right now it can be hard to imagine a future where Public Transport is part of our daily lives again, but that’s what makes this a crucial time to act. Low patronage of Public Transport in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue for a few years, making this the most convenient time to upgrade infrastructure.
A commitment from the state government to deliver universal access in the next term of government would contribute to our economic recovery and deliver a more comfortable, efficient Public Transport system for all Victorians. It would also help Victoria meet its commitment to halve emissions by 2030.
Previous governments have not kept their promises to the disability community. The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) requires that all infrastructure is fully compliant with the Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (DSAPT) by 31 December 2022.
That’s 500 days away. And we are woefully behind. Only 15% of Melbourne’s Tram Network is accessible, and buses, trains and taxis across regional Victoria fail daily to meet the needs of residents with disabilities.
And it’s not just the disability community that will benefit from universal access. Parents with prams, older Victorians and people wishing to avoid increasing traffic congestion will all reap the rewards of these upgrades.
The Andrews government can deal with the issue once and for all.
The good news is that the State Government has recognised the need for action and committed to producing a Public Transport Accessibility Strategy in this year’s budget. This is intended to create a practical pathway for realising universal access across train, tram and bus networks.
TAKE ACTION: Send an email to Minister Carroll here
It’s up to us to make sure this Strategy leads to actual outcomes. Our community of disability activists is reaching out to the Hon Ben Carroll, Minister for Public Transport to thank him for the Strategy, and to request the following:
- That the Public Transport Accessibility Strategy be complete by October 2022 to ensure it can be implemented by the next government.
- That a comprehensive plan be developed for consulting with the disability community to ensure the Strategy and its rollout meets the needs of the people it is intended to serve.
You can help by writing to Minister Carroll to reinforce the importance of universally accessible Public Transport.