Today dozens of community members have taken to Facebook and Twitter calling on Transport Minister Melissa Horne to prioritise accessible public transport for all with the hashtag #LifelongLockdown.
Many Victorians are rejoicing as the COVID restrictions gently lift and a return to normal life looks imminent, but for people with disabilities lockdown life can be normal life. 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.
There are many problems. 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 Victorian activists have been campaigning for a fully accessible transport system for almost 50 years.
Quote 1: Kerri Cassidy, Disability Resources Centre, says: “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. Generations of Disability Activists have pleaded for the Victorian government to fix this inequity - it’s time to make a real plan to make all public transport accessible for all people.”
Quote 2: 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.”
Quote 4: 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!”
For more information contact Ally Scott, the DRC’s Transport Campaign Officer on