Discrimination against people with disabilities has led to calls for regional train upgrades to include more wheelchair and mobility aid accessible carriages.
Transport For All, a statewide coalition of disability and transport campaigners, pushed for V/Line train replacements on the Warrnambool line with those consisting of universally accessible carriages at a rally on Thursday.
Dean Saunders, who uses a powered wheelchair, and sister Lisa Guthrie were at the Warrnambool train station rally, and said they were left quite upset by a poor train service experience.
"In 2006, when we went to the Commonwealth Games, he was put in the luggage carriage to be able to be transported from Geelong to Melbourne," Ms Guthrie said.
"I had to cross my arms over him to stop him from rocking because he has rods in his back, and we rocked and rolled the whole way."
Ms Guthrie said she wanted to see improvements made to the current disability accessible carriages which she stressed did not fulfil people like Dean's needs.
"The doorways are too narrow, the gap between the platform and the train is too big, and once you get in, the angles are too sharp and the aisles aren't big enough," she said.
Harvey Thulborn-McCorkell, who uses a wheelchair, said the lack of accessible carriages caused him to experience instances of segregation on the train.
"I wasn't allowed to be with my school group when I went on camp," he said.
"I had my chair chucked in the baggage, and they tried to gloss over it and said it was an upgrade to first-class."
"But I wanted to be with my mates."
He said he would like to see more support and understanding for people with disabilities on public transport.
"In Melbourne they whinge about getting the ramp for you, and in Warrnambool, they don't have it."
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The protest was one of six actions across regional and metro Victoria including Brunswick, Geelong, and Bairnsdale.
Rally organiser Kylie Thulborn said the current Warrnambool V/Line service was inadequate as trains regularly arrived without appropriate disability access, and replacement buses were inaccessible for wheelchair and scooter users.
"There is no guarantee that a BZN carriage - an accessible carriage - will be on the train," she said.
"If the accessible carriage is not on, then the people that use a wheelchair or other mobility aids are pretty much forced to go in a taxi."
Ms Thulborn said the "dangerous and uncomfortable" road conditions between Warrnambool and Melbourne were particularly difficult for people using mobility aids sitting at the back of a taxi, and waiting for alternative transport often added cost and time to their trips.
"The planning that one puts into travelling is pretty much obsolete because the current system can't ensure that the right mode of transport will even turn up," she said.
"They set out to be able to access a train exactly the same as everybody else in the community, and they're unable to do that."
Other demands by the coalition included the appointment of a chief accessibility advocate in state government and drafting a new state transport accessibility strategy with disability community involvement.
A V/Line spokesperson said the company had delivered an increased in accessible carriages after its maintenance program was accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This maintenance took place while fewer than normal passengers were travelling during the pandemic and has resulted in V/Line having a full compliment of accessible carriages available as passengers begin to return to the network," they said.
"This means that the vast majority of Warrnambool services operate with an accessible carriage."
The spokesperson said V/Line had updated its app and journey planner to include information about train schedules and accessible carriage availability.
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