Disabled locked out of dozens of train stations

Fewer than two-thirds of Queensland’s 152 train stations will be accessible to disabled people by the Federal Government’s 2022 deadline.

There is also still no clear timeline for upgrades to some stations, such as Auchenflower in Brisbane’s inner west, and nearby Taringa’s station has yet to even be reviewed.

State Greens MP for Maiwar, Michael Berkman, said the Government was also refusing to commit to the 2022 deadline for accessibility outlined in the Federal Disability Discrimination Act.

“Across Queensland, even once currently scheduled upgrades are completed, less than 60 per cent of stations will comply with federal disability standards,’’ Mr Berkman said.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey has previously said Taringa would be reviewed for an upgrade based on patronage, existing access and nearby facilities. Indooroopilly and Toowong, on each side of it, are accessible.

It is one of just 20 stations in Queensland with no scheduled upgrades where platforms are only accessible via stairs, but has 46,000 visits a month — more than almost all other stations scheduled for upgrades.

Mr Berkman said it also had just one ticket machine, meaning patrons might need to traverse several flights of stairs to buy a ticket and get to the correct platform.

“I do not believe that anything less than a commitment to 100 per cent accessibility at our train stations by 2022 is adequate,’’ Mr Berkman said.

In his letter, he asked Mr Bailey to also consider upgrades around Taringa station, near Morrow St and the shops on Moggill Rd, as the hilly terrain — particularly in the north side of the station — made it hard even to get to the station.

State Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman. Picture: Dan Peled

Mr Bailey said modernising stations was an enormous undertaking and upgrading them to meet the 2022 deadline “will be a challenge for most governments ’’.

“Every upgrade requires significant investment and time because we generally need to keep the station operating during construction, as well as deal with the constraints and issues each site presents,’’ he said.

“Work is happening right across the southeast to make stations more accessible under our government, typically including installation of lifts, raised platforms to assist boarding, pedestrian overpasses, tactile flooring, ramps, hearing aid loops and accessible toilets.’'

MS Queensland said it was disappointing the federal target would not be met by 2022.

“It is concerning that, reportedly, less than two-thirds of Queensland’s train stations will be

accessible by 2022, when it was intended for 100 per cent of stations to be accessible by

2022 as recommended by the Federal Disability Discrimination Act,’’ an MS Queensland spokeswoman said.

“We will continue to work with the government alongside other disability advocates as part of

the Queensland Rail Accessibility Reference Group to ensure that our public transport

system does not discriminate against people living with a disability.

“MS Queensland encourages those who live within communities without accessible train

stations to write to their State MPs to apply pressure on the government to ensure the

deadline is reached.

“It is important that resolving this issue is made a priority as accessible public transport is

essential in promoting an inclusive community.’’

But Mr Bailey said Queensland Rail’s $300 million Station Accessibility Upgrade Program had already delivered accessibility improvements at Graceville, Dinmore, Nambour, Alderley and Newmarket.

“Construction is underway at Morayfield, Boondall and Strathpine and upgrades are fully funded and scheduled for Auchenflower, Buranda and Fairfield stations as well as East Ipswich, Dakabin, Albion, Cannon Hill and Loganlea,’’ he said.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey. Picture: AAP/Darren England

“The Auchenflower, Buranda and Fairfield station upgrades are fully funded and will be delivered as previously announced, with public consultation already done in 2018.

“When these upgrades are completed, 83 per cent of rail customers in southeast Queensland will travel to and from accessible stations as accessibility upgrades have targeted higher commuter volume stations first.’’

Mr Bailey also said the Government’s new NGR trains would be some of the most accessible in the country, following consultation with disability groups on their design.

He said the Government worked with many disabilities groups on upgrades to station designs, through its Accessibility Reference Group which included representatives from Guide Dogs QLD, Vision Australian, Queenslanders with Disability Network, MS Society, Spinal Life, Arthritis QLD and Better Hearing Australia.

Stations with limited access and no scheduled upgrades:

Bindha

Riverview

Rocklea

Salisbury

Sherwood

Thomas St

Bundamba

Chelmer

Ebbw Vale

Gailes

Gaythorne

Moorooka

North Boondall

Traveston

Taringa

Trinder Park

Wilston

Wynnum

Yandina

Yeronga

Coorparoo, Morningside and Norman Park aren’t compliant with the federal disability access standards but don’t have any upgrades planned.

Stations that are not fully compliant but have no upgrades scheduled:

Ascot

Banyo

Bethania

Booval

Bray Park

Burpengary

Clayfield

Cooran

Cooroy

Coorparoo

Deagon

Doomben

Dutton Park

Eden’s Landing

Enoggera

Eudlo

Exhibition

Holmview

Karrabin

Keperra

Lindum

Lota

Mooloolah

Morayfield

Morningside

Murarrie

Norman Park

Northgate

Nudgee

Ormiston

Palmwoods

Pomona

Sunshine

Thagoona

Thorneside

Wacol

Walloon

Wellington Point

Windsor

 

Brendan O'Malley, Westside News, 26 February 2019

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