light rail, Passenger Rail

Campaigners rally for light rail accessibility

Activists say there is a need for more accessibility on the Melbourne public transport network

A COALITION of campaigners is taking to the streets of Melbourne to call for greater tram accessibility.

A recent report from the Victorian Auditor General found that despite targets set for full accessibility by 2022, only 15% of services are accessible.

The Disability Resources Centre has teamed up with the Rail Tram & Bus Union and Friends of the Earth to call for change.

“The RTBU has continued to raise these issues and demand immediate targeted investment,” said the RTBU’s Luba Grigorovitch.

“Victoria’s aging tram fleet should have been replaced and expanded many years ago, but these setbacks must come to an end,” she said.

“As our organisations come together, we invite all Victorians to demand better – united we won’t be silenced.”
Kerri Cassidy from the Disability Resources Centre said members of their community had been waiting to catch a tram for several decades.

“When 85% of services exclude people who require level access, it renders the whole network unavailable for them,” Cassidy said.

“Almost 20 years after the introduction of DSAPT we expect tram stop upgrades to be a higher priority for our state government.”

Friends of the Earth Melbourne’s Claudia Gallois called on the state government to a tram network that “works for all Victorians”.

“Ensuring everyone has access to sustainable public transport will be a key milestone in the fight for climate justice,” Gallois said.

The Victorian government recently said it was investing $1.48 billion to design and manufacture one hundred Next Generation Trams in the biggest single investment in trams in decades.

According to the government, the Next Generation Trams will facilitate retirements of older high-floor trams, making the public transport network more accessible for all Victorians.

The Next Generation Trams will start rolling out across Melbourne from 2025.

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