Systemic Advocacy 2019

Accessible Queensland Trains

QAI  campaigns for accessible Queensland rolling-stock.    In 2013, Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads commissioned $4.3 billion x 75 new six-car trains.

Those that have arrived in Queensland so far (built overseas) are not fully accessible for people who use wheelchairs, or who have vision impairments.    Some access paths and the bathroom access are narrower than the minimum widths set out in the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (DSAPT) that were established in 2002.

In late 2017, the Queensland lodged an application with the Australian Human Rights Commission (‘AHRC’) for temporary exemptions from the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (‘DSAPT’).   As part of its application, Queensland undertook to fix the conveyances over the next few years.  Along with other advocates, QAI lodged an opposing submission.  We said that the trains should have been compliant from the beginning, and that the AHRC must not grant exemptions that allow the state government to put new vehicles onto the tracks on the proviso that they be refurbished.

The AHRC refused Queensland’s  exemption application.  The NGR trains are not DSAPT-compliant.   In December 2017, QAI supported two members to make federal and state discrimination complaints.

 Immediately, the transport minister should have removed the trains from service.  The state government continued to run the NGR for the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast.

The new trains are designed to last at least 35 years in service: that’s until the early 2050s.  Unlike other Queensland suburban trains, the new trains have no guard station in the middle, adjacent to the accessible boarding point on the platform.  As a stop-gap measure, Queensland Railways has hired staff to attend people who want boarding assistance.  We are not confident that this arrangement will continue for 35 years.

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