Getting around on our train network is hellish. I don’t think the government understand just how bad it is.
That’s just another day for us disabled train commuters in Sydney. The services are terrible: whether it’s being put in the wrong section of the train, not being able to get a ramp, or being described as “a wheelchair” — not a person — there’s so much that needs to be fixed. And the plan that the Minister says reflects how “passionate” she is means it could take until 2032 to fix it.
I don’t think Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian gets it. 15 years is a very long time to wait for a train system that treats us with respect.
That’s why I want to see her take up my disability challenge: try travelling like we do for just one day, navigating our trains in a wheelchair.
My work as well as my social life requires me to travel a lot — all over Sydney metro, and, despite the huge costs, I often have to opt for taxis because it’s the only way I’ll know I can get to my destination on time and safely. I rely HEAVILY on public transport. The government says they want to encourage us to work, but they’re making it almost impossible.
Staff need to be trained to deal with all different mobility aids and disabilities. Some of those who’ve been trying to help me have no clue how to get my chair down the ramp in the safest way possible.
One time, I fell out of my chair alighting from the train. I had tried to ask the employee for assistance off the train due to the steepness of the ramp from the train to platform (I wasn’t game in attempting it myself). But because of his failure to acknowledge me after I had tried to grab his attention more than a few times (his face looking to the ground), adding to that language barrier, I attempted to alight on my own and fell and hit my face on the platform. I was then assisted back into my chair, asked if im ok.. and that was it. They expected me to roll away. I had to ask for an ice pack and an ambulance to be called as it wasnt offered to me. I wasnt even asked if i needed assistance with pushing my chair from platform to the office, and pushed myself. I had just hit my head, i could’ve had a brain haemorrhage… anything couldve happened!
Most of the time staff are friendly and mean well, but many of them don’t know how to approach a person with a disability. Better training for rail staff would be a good start.
I’m one of the lucky ones – I can speak up for myself, but for many people, with a mix of abilities, negotiating with staff is almost impossible.
Please add your signature to my petition and show your support, it will send the message straight to the minister that people expect her to be in touch with what our lives are like.
Lets get Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian travelling our trains using a wheelchair for just one day!
Thanks for your support