A GUARANTEE should be offered by V/Line that all Warrnambool train services have wheelchair accessibility, Labor has urged.
South West Coast ALP candidate Roy Reekie said correspondence from V/Line revealed the transport authority had enough trains in its fleet to provide wheelchair access carriages along the south-west line.
Mr Reekie joined accessibility campaigners Ray Ahearn and Dawn Whitehead to discuss the issue, backing up Mr Ahearn’s sustained advocacy for improved services.
The ALP candidate said while other regional lines had adequate services for disabled passengers, the Warrnambool line had accessible carriages about three out of four times.
“For me, there’s a pretty simple solution here and it doesn’t involve extra funding or a new grant, just commonsense,” Mr Reekie said.
“There are existing resources that could be used more effectively across the state according to need. Wheelchair users shouldn’t be treated as second-class citizens. It’s another example of the south-west being overlooked by the Coalition.”
Mr Ahearn said the Warrnambool line needed only two Z-class carriages to ensure all services were wheelchair accessible.
“You do have to plan ahead if you use a wheelchair and want to travel to Melbourne,” he said. “It’s been a problem for quite some time but it’s pleasing that it’s getting some attention.”
A V/Line spokesman told The Standard in September that the Warrnambool line had more accessible carriages than ever before, with several new services on the line. “V/Line will not leave customers stranded and we always organise accessible transport if their selected train does not have an accessible (Z) carriage,” the spokesman said.