DRC Advocacy have instigated a campaign on social media to make people aware that public transport must be accessible for all not just those who are mobile. DRC Advocacy are highlighting a national problem and using the state of Victoria as an example for the rest of the country.
Much of the state’s transport system remains inaccessible and unreliable, leaving people with disabilities stuck at home and unable to participate fully in life’s opportunities. According to the National Disability Standards for Accessible Transport, Victoria’s transport system is required to be 80-90% accessible by 2022, but the Victorian government is far from on track to meet this deadline.
Melbourne’s trams, for instance, are only 30 per cent accessible, whilst the V/Line trains to Warrnambool, Shepparton and Echuca are overcrowded and frequently run with no accessible carriage on the service. In rural and regional areas taxis are rarely a solution, with many towns offering only one accessible car for the area.
The Australian Human Rights Commission says that equal access to public transport (trains, trams, buses, taxis and ride shares) is a human right, yet most Victorian activists have been campaigning for a fully accessible transport system for almost 50 years.
Kerri Cassidy, Disability Resources Centre, said that, “Victoria’s public transport system is still not up to the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport which means #LifetimeLockdown for some and significant barriers for many more to participate in work, education and social life.
Recent newspaper articles have told the horror stories about inaccessible transport information, the need for disability awareness training for transport staff, problems with access to priority seating for people with invisible disabilities and the impacts of train disruptions on patrons.
Friends of the Earth’s transport spokesperson Claudia Gallois says, Transport is how we connect to people and places, it’s a human right and everyone deserves to have access to travel in a sustainable way.” And Public Transport Users Association spokesperson Daniel Bowen says, “Melbourne still has lots of high floor trams, and lots of steep (non-DDA-compliant) station ramps. An inaccessible transport system means #LifelongLockdown for many people. Time for action!”
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DRC Advocacy are based in Melbourne and campaign for an accessible society that values the contributions of people with disability across all areas of economic, social, cultural and civic life. They deal with legal, NDIS issues, Disability Support Pension claims and petty bureaucrats in government departments who are still causing issues for people often in desperate need of assistance and straightforward advice. The DRC Advocacy staff are often frustrated with significant delays in processing times for pension applications, reviews and appeals. Hopefully the systemic issues will be resolved with increased resources and more vocal public campaigns to shame the politicians into action.