Transport operators and governments need to upgrade public transport infrastructure to make it more accessible for disabled residents, the Eastern Transport Coalition said today.

ETC spokesperson Cr Samantha Dunn said disabled residents were frequently disadvantaged due to unsuitable or lacking infrastructure.

Responding to the issues paper, Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002, Cr Dunn said ETC member councils had been compiling a list of difficulties faced by their residents when trying to use public transport.

“We need an efficient public transport network to serve all members of the community, including disabled users, children, parents with prams and the elderly,” Cr Dunn said.

“Talking to our residents, we have found that people with disabilities face a range of impediments that often prevents them from being able to use public transport or makes it unnecessarily difficult.

“Making public transport more accessible for people of all abilities doesn’t have to be particularly difficult or expensive – but it does require some thought from governments and service providers.”

Some of the issues raised by the ETC include:

  • the provision and location of ramps for all public transport modes
  • trains not picking up disabled users due to timetable constraints
  • toilets not providing hoists for adult users
  • inadequate space for wheelchairs to access services
  • small print on timetables at bus stops makes it difficult for vision impaired people to read; and
  • deaf users can miss information updates and announcements at train stations which are generally only given over loud speakers.

Cr Dunn said in recent years, Councils have received funding to upgrade some bus stops to meet disability access requirements, however, this funding did not extended to include things like footpaths that lead to the bus stop.

“We hope that more will be done in the future to make public transport accessible to all members of the community and urge residents to make their own submissions to the Issues Paper and make their views known,” said Cr Dunn.