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Thursday, 31 October 2013 11:54

Public transport missing the mark for Victorians with disabilities

A new Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission report has found public transport in Victoria is failing to meet the needs of Victorians with disabilities.

The report, Who's on board: Public transport for people with disabilities in Victoria highlights the pressing need for improvements to public transport to prevent discrimination and facilitate equal participation for people with disabilities.

The Commission's report corroborates the findings of Closing the Accessibility Gap, a Public Transport Ombudsman report released in September this year, which outlines the variable quality of service experienced by public transport users with disabilities.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kate Jenkins said that access to public transport is essential to ensure all Victorians can participate fully in employment, education, social and cultural life.

"People with disabilities, like anyone else in the community, have a right to reliable, timely, safe and accessible public transport," Ms Jenkins said.

The report calls for a strengthening of the Federal Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport and a greater emphasis on transport providers taking proactive steps to improve accessibility.

"The Commission made a submission to the 2012 Review of the Transport Standards, which included several recommendations to address the inequity in accessibility for public transport users with disabilities in Victoria.

"Among those recommendations was a call for a national framework for reporting by states and territories as well as an greater emphasis on service providers taking proactive steps to increase accessibility," Ms Jenkins said.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission will continue to work with public transport providers to ensure the needs of people with a disability are not forgotten nor less of a priority than those of other users.

People who feel they have been discriminated against are encouraged to call the Commission's Enquiry Line on 1300 292 153 or email [email protected]

What we found:

  • 38% of survey respondents reported that accessibility to (different modes) of transport had declined in the past year
  • 49% reported they felt it had stayed the same in the past year
  • People reported being refused passage because of their assistance dog
  • Commuters are being ignored at stops and stations
  • Wheelchairs are getting stuck between platforms and vehicles
  • People are not aware of the location of tram superstops.

Access a copy of the report.

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