Wheelchair users take action for access to trams

Trams in Melbourne have still not been made accessible for wheelchair users. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Disability Resources Centre (DRC) chair Martin Leckey is one of five complainants taking action against the Victorian government and Yarra Trams’ failure to meet accessibility standards as set out in the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002, a subsection of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

The June 27 Age reported that it could be the “first of several discrimination cases” against the state government and Yarra Trams over their “lag in overhauling Melbourne’s sprawling tram network”.

Timna Jacks reported that “73% of tram stops and 62% of trams are inaccessible to people using wheelchairs, mobility aids and prams. If upgrades continue at the current rate, tram stops will not be accessible until 2066 and trams by 2045.”

Leckey confirmed on June 28 that progress had been very slow. “They’ve put very little money into it over the last few years and we’re falling further and further behind the targets.”

Trains in Melbourne have been made accessible for wheelchair users.

A DRC video shows wheelchair users in 1996 protesting for wheelchair accessibility on trams. Alongside the court case, this may be the only way to speed up access and guarantee rights to those with mobility limits.

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