Train shame: Disability advocate forced to sit in space reserved for luggage

Jax Jacki Brown
Jax Jacki Brown

A DISABILITY advocate was forced to sit in a space usually reserved for luggage on a train trip to Warrnambool.

Melbourne woman Jax Jacki Brown said she felt disempowered after the three-and-a-half hour journey to the city to co-facilitate a violence against women with disabilities workshop.

Her ordeal adds to the call for updated rolling stock on the Warrnambool line.

A frustrated Ms Brown said she was assured by train operator V/Line the wheelchair service would be accessible on Sunday night.

Instead V/Line offered her a taxi ride to Warrnambool.

“I really hope that out of this difficult and unjust situation that we can actually start to see some change, because I was really clear to multiple people about what I needed, in terms of having a service that could meet my needs,” she said.

“I was assured from multiple people at different levels at V/Line before the travel date that it was going to happen. To be told my only option was to be put in a taxi and go off into the night with a strange man ... really made me feel disempowered, upset and angry.”

Ms Brown booked her ticket on the train service last week after asking V/Line which service would be the most appropriate, with an accessible toilet.

"I also received a phone call on the Friday afternoon, from V/Line, assuring me that it was going to be an accessible service.”

Ms Brown arrived at the station and was told the service was not available.

“As a women travelling alone I don’t who that taxi driver is, I don’t know my way to Warrnambool and I asked what happened if I needed to use the bathroom.”

V/Line spokesman Adam Woolcock said a carriage with wider doors was scheduled to run, however due to a carriage fault it had to be removed. He said V/Line offered a wheelchair accessible taxi and apologised.

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