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Passengers with disabilities are being left stranded on Melbourne's trains and trams because drivers ''forget'' to help them off at their requested stop or station, an inquiry has heard.
Drivers at Metro and Yarra Trams use a ''post-it notes system'' to remind themselves of which stop a passenger in a wheelchair needs to get off the train or tram, but sometimes fail to do this because the sticky note falls to the floor or the vehicle has a change of driver, an inquiry into the social inclusion of Victorians with a disability was told on Monday.
Public Transport Ombudsman Janine Young raised concerns at the parliamentary inquiry that lifts, ramps and adequate seating were not being provided across the public transport network for people with disabilities.
Ms Young told the inquiry that as a result, some ''might not use public transport at all''.
She said frustrated commuters with a disability had complained to her office about being forgotten by train and tram drivers who passed their stop without helping them to alight.
''They got on a train, told the driver they were going to Flinders Street, perhaps Lilydale, and when they got there the driver forgot that they were still there,'' Ms Young said.
The inquiry coincides with a call from Victoria's Rail, Tram and Bus Union for platform humps to be built at all railway stations as soon as possible to provide easy access for passengers with disabilities.
Only three stations in Melbourne - Flinders Street, Box Hill and Mooroolbark - have humps at the ends of platforms so passengers in wheelchairs can get on and off trains without the driver's assistance.
Union secretary Luba Grigorovitch said the government needed to get serious about making public transport accessible for travellers with special needs.
''Currently only three stations have functional platform humps that allow easy access onto trains for disabled and special-needs travellers. Even at these stations they are not on every platform,'' Ms Grigorovitch said.
''This means that at every other station the driver has to get out of the train and put a ramp in place, assist the traveller and then remove the ramp.
''As well as making access difficult for disabled and special-needs travellers, this also delays the train by two or three minutes.''
Newly built stations, such as West Footscray, had been built without platform humps, Ms Grigorovitch said.
Public Transport Victoria spokeswoman Helen Witton said more platform humps would be built in future.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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