Thousands petition Victorian MPs for accessible tram stops

November 16, 2023
Campaigners gather at Victorian parliament before handing over the petition. Photo: Soul Theatre/Sydney Road Accessible Tram Stops Campaign/Facebook

Campaigners for accessible tram stops on Sydney Road, some of whom in their wheelchairs, presented more than 3000 names on a petition to Victorian Greens MP Tim Reid on November 15.

The campaign is calling on Labor to fulfil its human rights obligations to install accessible tram stops along Sydney Road before the construction of the second section of Sky Rail level crossing removals on the Upfield line.

Only 15% of all tram stops are fully accessible.

Brunswick resident Christian Astourian, who initiated the campaign, implored all MPs to take action.

Astourian, who lives with multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, said he will be left isolated if there is no accessible transport while the Skyrail is built.

Andrew Bretherton, who also uses a wheelchair, spoke about the trouble he has to use accessible public transport.

“If we were segregating any other person from the community or any other culture or race, it would be up in arms.

“Disabled people are constantly denied their civil rights, their civil liberties and the segregation needs to stop today,” said Bretherton.

Denis Evans, a retired trade union official, handed over the petition to Reid.

Passers-by were invited to see how accessible the tram network really is by taking part in The Tram Stop is Right, a play on The Price is Right TV game show. They spun a wheel to discover if: the tram stop was accessible; the tram was accessible; and when they would be able to get to their destination — or if they could get there at all!

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