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News Item

02/05/2005

JOINT STATEMENT

Victorian Council of Social Service
Paraquad Victoria
Disability Resources Centre
Public Transport Users Association

Access to public transport for all is a fundamental human right and has been enshrined in law through the Disability Discrimination Act DDA (1992) and the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (2002) [1]. In accordance with this legislation and the subsequent Disability Action Plan formulatedby Yarra Trams, the Melbourne Tram network is to be fully DDA compliant by 2032. Inclusive within this plan are recommendations that accessible boarding and infrastructure for 25% of the tram service should occur over the five years from 2002 to 2007 [2].

We would like to support Yarra Trams in moving towards its goal of Access for All and its efforts to achieve this level of access by 2007, however we would like to raise a number of concerns.

The model currently being offered by Yarra Trams to achieve improved accessibility throughout the tram network is through the construction of DDA compliant platform stops in conjunction with the ongoing purchase and usage of low-floor trams.

In specific relation to these DDA compliant platform stops, the only option being presented is the massively expensive, overly long Superstop. Firstly, we are seeking to encourage the use of the alternative terminology 'Premium platform stop' for these existing platform stops in order to emphasize that we believe the construction of less expensive, less intrusive and equally accessible Standard platform stops may provide an alternative in relation to the construction of DDA compliant platform stops. We believe that the construction of a number of scaled down Standard platform stops, in conjunction with the continued construction of Premium platform stops is a viable option in achieving DDA compliance across the tram network.

These scaled down Standard platform stops could potentially be installed at a greatly reduced cost and with significantly less disruption to the street environment. Our estimations are that around ten Standard platform stops could be installed for approximately the cost of one Premium platform stop.

Ideally, Premium platform stops would continue to be constructed at key locations, such as at major transport interchanges and in suburban hubs. Standard platform stops could be constructed between these Premium platform stop at lower usage stops. We would therefore support the construction of a mixed proportion of Premium and Standard platform stops across the network to achieve the recommended DDA compliance levels of the tram network at a significantly faster rate.

In addition, we believe all DDA compliant platform stops should be viewed as one-for-one replacements for existing tram stops. The introduction of DDA compliant platform stops should not, in itself, involve any net loss of the existing number of tram stop locations. If in fact existing stops on the network are judged superfluous because they are very close to other stops, we believe they should be reviewed publicly and independently of plans to introduce DDA compliant platform stops. We would particularly deplore any duplicitous efforts to reduce the overall number of stops to artificially inflate the percentage of compliant stops simply to meet DDA requirements.

We believe a level of 25% accessibility across the tram network is possible by 2007 through the highlighted construction of a mixed number of Premium and Standard platform stops. As such, given the lower cost and impact of the Standard platform stops, we see no reason why the implementation of DDA compliance across the tram network should involve any change to the number or location of tram stops inMelbourne.

Again, we support Yarra Trams in moving towards its goal of Access for All and in beginning to address the needs of improved accessibility throughout the entire Melbourne tram network for the future benefit of all tram users.

[1] http://www.ag.gov.au/DSFAPT/Welcome.html
Yarra Trams website: http://www.yarratrams.com.au/corp_info/dda.asp

[2] Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002, Section 33.2, Schedule 1, Part 1, page 30:
http://www.yarratrams.com.au/images/pdfs/DDA_Action_Plan.pdf (PDF)

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Last Modified: 26 April 2005