Re: Off track: the struggle for people with disabilities on Melbourne’s tram network | Melbourne | The Guardian

Victoria is not addressing the first issue that must be resolved before
building accessible platforms - the number of stops. Melbourne has
typically very close stop spacings, down to iirc down to about 200 metres,
more like traditional bus stops. The common average stop spacing for urban
trams around the world is about 500 metres. Even bus stops are trending
towards being 500 metres apart. If this is not addressed, it will remain
impossible to provide accessible platforms for every stop. Spacing them at
about 500 metres (subject to convenient location) will greatly reduce the
number of stops that will require platforms and make the job of achieving a
fully accessible system more feasible.

Tony P

On Friday, 15 September 2023 at 10:44:27 UTC+10 Tony Galloway wrote:





> Off track: the struggle for people with disabilities on Melbourne’s tram

> networkDisability advocate says there is ‘no political will’ to make

> accessibility upgrades as Brunswick residents plan rally

> Benita Kolovos <//>

> [image: Brunswick resident Christian Astourian on Sydney Road]

> Brunswick resident Christian Astourian on Sydney Road. He has helped

> organise a rally to mark the start of transport equity week and call for

> accessible tram stops in the area. Photograph: Nadir Kinani/The Guardian


> Christian Astourian lives in a part of Melbourne with a lack of

> accessible tram stops


> and the disability advocate fears he will no longer be able to get to work

> when his local train line closes.


> The Victorian government has committed to removing eight crossings on the

> Upfield train line and the planned months-long closures has raised concerns

> that people with disabilities may be confined to their homes.


> Astourian, 53, lives with cerebral palsy and uses an electric scooter for

> mobility. The Brunswick resident says there is a lack of accessible tram

> stops along a 5.5km stretch of bustling Sydney Road from the south of

> Brunswick to Coburg North.


> -


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> While the government has introduced low-floor trams along the route,

> Astourian cannot safely board them.


> “A journey that usually takes 45 minutes will become a two-hour journey to

> go and another two hours to come back home,” he tells Guardian Australia.


> “Bus replacement [services] and maxi cabs are not a solution since they

> take a long time to come – up to an hour – and not all buses are

> accessible, including drivers who don’t even know how to use the ramp when

> there is one.”


> Ally Scott, the projects manager at the Disability

> Resources Centre, says

> not a single stop on Melbourne’s tram network has been made more accessible

> in the past 12 months.


> “Right now there is no political will to do the upgrade work needed to

> make the existing transport system universally accessible,” she says.


> “The Department for Transport

> estimated the work

> on the tram network would cost $2bn, an incredibly small sum compared to

> the big build pipeline commitment – $184bn.


> “But because access and upgrades are not shiny new things it is just

> disregarded, which is incredibly dispiriting.”


> The Victorian government was required to make all tram stops in its

> network accessible by the end of 2022, but missed the deadline set under

> the federal Disability Discrimination Act.


> In 2020 a report by the auditor general

> found

> that only 15% of tram services delivered a fully accessible service of a

> low-floor vehicle at a level-access stop in 2018-19. It said if the

> government kept up with its average rate of building 18 stops a year, then

> it would take until 2066 to finish upgrading the whole network.

> [image: Christian Astourian says people with mobility issues are

> ‘frustrated and fed up’ with Brunswick’s accessibility problems.]

> Christian Astourian says people with mobility issues are ‘frustrated’ with

> Brunswick’s accessibility problems. Photograph: Nadir Kinani/The Guardian


> In a statement a spokesperson for the Victorian government said it had

> invested more than $3.8bn in new trams, accessible stops and better travel

> across Melbourne


> “We’re continuing to deliver more level access stops across the tram

> network – with 83 level access stops delivered since 2014 and [a] further

> 24 in progress,” they said.

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> The spokesperson said accessibility improvements were being assessed based

> on tram corridors, rather than on a stop-by-stop basis, with consultation

> on three priority tram stop corridors: Footscray to Maribyrnong, Fitzroy to

> Collingwood and Thornbury to Northcote.


> They said stops in other areas and corridors, including Sydney Road, will

> be considered as part of future development packages.


> Astourian will on Sunday speak at a rally

> that he helped organise in

> Brunswick to mark the start of transport equity week and renew the call for

> accessible tram stops in the area.


> Merri-bek city councillor Sue Bolton, a Socialist Alliance member, has

> been involved in organising funding for the distribution of 20,000 leaflets

> and 800 posters in the area ahead of the protest.


> She says while she believes it will be another two years before the train

> stations closed, they could be shut for 18 months or more.


> “There are a lot of people who will become more isolated as a result,”

> Bolton says.


> “Not everyone’s linked with services, not everyone has friends or family

> who can check in on them, not everyone’s got jobs that they can do from

> home and that goes for people with disabilities who work too.”


> Astourian says the elderly, parents with prams and people with temporary

> mobility issues would also struggle to reach the tram stops on the busy

> strip.


> “We are tired of looking at low floor trams in Sydney Road and still

> cannot access them, frustrated and fed up of government lack of

> implementation and willingness to listen to people,” he says.