DDA non-compliance at Southern Cross

If you haven’t heard the acronym ‘DDA’ before, then it stands for the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. The Act makes disability discrimination unlawful, and aims to promote equal opportunity and access for people with disabilities.

From a transport perspective, equal access is governed by the ‘Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport’, which requires all new public transport systems since 2002 to comply with the standards, and gives a 30 year timeline for existing systems to become compliant. On the Melbourne rail network the most visible outcome of DDA compliance are the ‘bumps’ that line the edge of most platforms – the official term is ‘Tactile Ground Surface Indicators’.

Tactile paving on a railway station platform

Southern Cross Station is no different with tactile paving: the round dimples mark obstructions and changes in direction, while the longer bumps mark paths for vision impaired people to navigate around the station.

Long way around to exit the country platforms at Southern Cross (note the tactile paving that keeps on being moved)

Unfortunately the quality of the tactile paving used around the station leaves something to be desired: every few months when I seem to find another section of paving being reattached to the concourse.

Another week, another batch of poor quality tactile paving needing to be reattached to the concourse

With the ongoing renovations at the station easy access for the vision impaired has not improved, with a number of obstructions installed on the concourses. One example is this former staircase: now taken up by a new retail store, the remaining half height step has been blocked off to eliminate the trip hazard, and tactile paving installed around the railing.

Making no sense at all on the Collins Street upper level: most of this staircase was taken up by a new retail store, the remaining bit is blocked off for 'safety' but still getting in the way

In other areas tactile paving leading into dead ends have been ripped up and replaced by plywood sheeting.

Tactile paving ripped up on the Collins Street upper level, replaced by plywood

However the line between ‘poor design’ and ‘evil’ is found on the only path between the suburban platforms and the lift on Spencer Street: this length of tactile paving leads vision impaired people into the construction hoarding.

Now this is downright evil: tactile paving leading vision impaired people into the wall

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4 Responses to “DDA non-compliance at Southern Cross”

  1. Jrandom says:

    Kinda late in the piece but an amusing addition here, if you can read braille and you look at the braille underneath the text on the emergency assistance panels on each platform at Southern Cross you’ll find that the braille reads *exactly* the same as the text i.e. “Press the *green* button for timetable information, press the *red* button for emergency assistance” which is of course *really* useful if you’re blind, one suggests that Left and Right would have been better choices…

    I called them about it last year, I was told that “the timetable buttons shouldn’t be there”…

    • Marcus says:

      That is a bit of a doozy – they’re technically complying with the law, despite it being useless to the actual people the law was written for.

      At least it wasn’t as bad as this road sign over in the UK – the Welsh translation on it read “I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated”:

  2. […] the usefulness of the braille translation is debatable, as a commenter on an earlier blog post of mine has pointed […]

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