Wrong Priorities Leaves People Without Lifts At Railway Stations

Wrong Priorities Leaves People Without Lifts At Railway Stations

New South Wales Auditor-General Margaret Crawford

Transport Access Program Performance Audit

Victor P Taffa

Transport for NSW’s process for selecting and prioritising projects is being considered for the third stage of its Transport Access Program.

Balanced compliance includes:

  • Broader customer outcomes,
  • Demographics,
  • Deliverability,
  • National disability standards,
  • Value for money.

However, Transport for NSW does not know the complete scope of work required for full compliance, limiting its ability to demonstrate that its approach is effective, according to a report released today by the New South Wales Auditor-General Margaret Crawford.

Transport Access Program is Transport for NSW’s largest program with a specific focus on improving access to public transport for people with disability. This includes:

  • Improved signage,
  • Installing lifts,
  • Other measures to comply with national disability standards for accessible public transport,
  • Paths and ramps at railway stations and ferry wharves.

Transport for NSW has invested $1.2 Billion in the first 2 stages of the program since 2011-12.

Transport for NSW has undertaken a phased approach to auditing compliance across the transport networks, with a focus on first assessing compliance at locations that are not wheelchair accessible.

“This creates two problems. First, Transport for NSW does not know the complete scope of work required to comply with the standards. Second, not all wheelchair accessible locations fully meet the standards.” Auditor-General Crawford said.

Transport for NSW has acknowledged that it will not achieve its obligation to be 100 % compliant with the standards by 2022.

Audit recommended that Transport for NSW publish a schedule of stations and wharves that it plans to upgrade as well as improving how it measures, and publicly reports on, accessibility outcomes for people with disability.

“Given the long timeframes associated with improving transport infrastructure, this information is important as it allows people to make informed decisions about where they live, and where they work or study.” Auditor-General Crawford said.

 

Wrong Priorities:

New South Wales Auditor-General Margaret Crawford is not to blame for this lack of access to Railway Stations and Ferry Wharves for the disabled.

In wanting to meet National Disability Standards, the focus is completely wrong by successive Governments.

Funding is the biggest issue and there is more interest in building a rolled-gold metro line rather than having a plan to install lifts at Railway Stations.

What is needed by all Governments is a Platform Height Raising and Lift Installation program that looks at every railway line on a regular basis and not just focus on a rolled-gold metro for one line.

Transport Budget needs to be increased and equal to that of Health and Education. Then Works and Design needs to be 75% of the Budget with 25% for salaries and wages.

North-West Railway Line

North-West Railway Line as Heavy Rail would have been operational by now had it not been for an obsession by Federal Politicians to have a rolled-gold metro line.

Epping-Chatswood Railway Line

Epping-Chatswood Railway Line that opened in 2009 is too steep for metro trains.

Yet people who knows nothing about trains forced the railways to make the Epping-Chatswood Railway Line to be the steepest in the network.

Furthermore, due to one or two noisy people a bridge over the Lane Cove River was scrapped in favour of a tunnel under the river.

This made rail carriage motors burn out too quickly.

Originally the Epping-Chatswood Line was to be part of the Parramatta-Chatswood Line.

Duplication of the Carlingford Line and extension to Epping was abandoned by then Treasurer Michael Costa. Also scrapped was a planned Railway Station at UTS Ku-ring-gai.

Railway Stations on the Epping-Chatswood Line have straight platforms that are level with carriage doors and lifts to platforms. Yet fences will be built on the Platforms and are a safety risk for passengers.

Now people want to turn the Carlingford Line into a Light Rail Tram Line which shows once again that people are simply going around in circles.

Redfern Railway Station:

Trains can continue to operate and the station able to remain open during the installation of lifts. Redfern Railway Station is a 12 Platform station.

  • Platforms 1-10 are surface
  • Platforms 11-12 are below grade

Installation of lifts at Redfern Station is relatively easy.

  • Lifts and wider concourse for Platforms 1-5 are installed first by diverting all trains to Platforms 6-10.
  • Lifts and wider concourse for Platforms 6-10 are installed next by diverting all trains to Platforms 1-5.

Easy.

Job completed, commuters and workforce are happy.

Rolled-gold metro lines sounds great however when lifts are not being installed in an ongoing program it would seem that some people do not really care about the disabled or meeting national standards.

Yet it is successive Federal Governments who are ramming metro rail down our throats at the expense of the disabled.

Caption:

North Strathfield Railway Station looking from Pomeroy Street Overpass. Lifts are being installed at the southern end of the station.

 

Abbreviations:

NSW               New South Wales