Stops for disabled wait for low-floor trams

  • September 6, 2008
  • Bruce Bromley

Herald Sun
Stephen Drill
September 07, 2008 12:00am

SUPER tram stops designed to help disabled people, the elderly and mothers with prams are missing one thing – the low-floor trams designed to serve them.

The State Government has been criticised for spending almost $250 million on 276 new wheelchair-accessible tram stops, but failing to deliver the new trams.

Under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act, low-floor trams are not mandatory until 2032.

Yarra Trams has revealed only seven of Melbourne’s 28 routes have low-floor trams that sit at the same level as the super stops to allow people to roll on and off.

Routes 55 and 59 — which run past the Royal Children’s, Royal Melbourne and Royal Women’s hospitals — don’t have wheelchair friendly low-floor trams.

However, the 96 and 109 trams that run to St Kilda and Port Melbourne are all low-floor.

Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said the State Government should share the trams around the network.

“It’s ludicrous that so many routes have super stops, but no low-floor trams — many people who have limited mobility are suffering because of this,” he said.

Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said the State Government had dragged its heels on buying trams since 1999.

Wendy Brooks, a mother of four who has a neuromuscular disease, said she was angry people with disabilities would have to wait until 2032 before they were guaranteed access to public transport.

“The message is that because you are in a wheelchair you are not worth being included,” Ms Brooks, 48, said.

Stephen Moynihan, a spokesman for Transport Minister Lynne Kosky, said the Government had ordered 100 new low-floor trams to be delivered from 2010.