Melbourne’s bus stops to nowhere

Improving the accessibility of the bus network takes more than just low floor buses – passengers need to be able to reach the bus stops themselves. So where does this approach fall flat?

CDC Melbourne #89 rego 8015AO waits for route 408 passengers at Sunshine station

In recent years the State Government has allocated funding for infrastructure upgrades – here is just one example:

Mornington Peninsula bus services to get $6m upgrade
Sharon Green
May 13, 2014

The Victorian Government will invest $6 million in infrastructure improvement works to bus networks throughout the Mornington Peninsula.

Nepean state Liberal MP Martin Dixon said works would include a new bus interchange at Rosebud, new bus lanes and traffic light priority works at major intersections and congestion hot spots as well as bus stop upgrades.

Mr Dixon said about 120 bus stops would be upgraded to ensure they are compliant for disability access.

“These bus stops will have tactile and concrete pads, as well as a range of other accessibility features that will be installed where required, such as footpaths and ramps,” he said.

However in sparsely populated areas such as Mornington Peninsula, the usefulness of these upgrades is dubious – with no footpaths to be found, any bus passengers are forced to walk along the side of the road.

DDA compliant bus stop on Point Nepean Road, Blairgowrie

A similar situation applies to stops in Melbourne’s west, where buses follow narrow two lane roads through former paddocks.

Yet another DDA 'compliant' bus stop, but with nowhere for a wheelchair to go after the bus stop

But that isn’t as bad as this ‘compliant’ bus stop in Gisbourne – thanks to the kerb between the road and bus stop, the only way out for the wheelchair bound is the next bus out of there.

Somewhere over the rainbow - DDA compliant bus stop with no footpaths

Is there a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow?

Footnote

Does the above remind you of Melbourne’s tram network? Back in April 2015, The Age had this to say:

Melbourne’s expanding fleet of low-floor trams are being allocated to tram routes that lack wheelchair-accessible stops, while accessible tram stops are being built on routes that have no low-floor trams.

The Victorian Government ‘Accessible Public Transport in Victoria’ Action Plan 2013-2017 appears to at least acknowledge that infrastructure upgrades on their own will not lead to an accessible public transport network.

The Action Plan will embed a broader access approach to public transport services but also ensures the Victorian Government meets the requirements of Commonwealth disability discrimination legislation and standards.

This approach recognises that technical compliance will not always deliver an optimal access outcome for public transport users, particularly if specific actions and projects meet compliance standards but are done in isolation of other factors. For example, the upgrade of bus stops without a connecting pathway would mean that technically more bus stops are compliant, but access outcomes have not been achieved and many people may remain unable to use the bus network.

This Action Plan takes a whole of journey approach to accessibility that recognises the need for people with a disability or mobility restriction to be able to access information to plan their journey. Pathways to various modes of public transport services are as important as physical access itself.

But the real proof will come in the actions of Public Transport Victoria – they seem to have enough trouble coordinating bus, tram and train services for the able bodied, so it may take some time until their work moves from ‘box ticking’ for compliance, to a focus on an accessible network for all.

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13 Responses to “Melbourne’s bus stops to nowhere”

  1. Daniel says:

    Re: the trams, what they didn’t say at the time was the construction of accessible stops along Flemington Road was in preparation for the deployment of low-floor trams onto route 55, originally proposed for the midyear timetable change, but now postponed and out for consultation: http://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/projects/get-involved/have-your-say-on-proposed-changes-to-your-tram-services/

  2. Tim says:

    The super stop at the corner of Nicholson and blyth st had some speculation that it was only put in due to tram drivers being too lazy to get out and wave cars past while waiting for terminus trams

  3. Somebody says:

    My closest bus stop is as equally useless as the example from Gisborne, but it’s also on the side of a hill.

    I’ve only ever seen someone catching a bus there once though, so the only purpose the concrete pad seems to serve is for a local resident to leave their bins there on rubbish collection days.

  4. Adam says:

    Hahaha. I’ve driven past this stop a few times and thought who and why??

    Calder Park/Calder Fwy (Calder Park) – Bus Stop: 5692

    https://www.google.com/maps/@-37.66659,144.753902,3a,75y,273.17h,87.11t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sCqvYAhqgNoayVhCzFuh6ow!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

  5. David Payne says:

    I guess you would have posted long ago about the vertical kerb between stop and footpath from the North platform of the first stop in Collins street East of Spencer Street. That’s supposed to be a wheelchair friendly stop?

  6. David Payne says:

    There are also many raised bus and tram stops that only have access to the footpath and the rest of the world from one end. The one I definitely recall is in Queensbridge st just south of the Yarra and the green bike-only crossing that often has more pedestrians on it than the very wide pedestrian crossing next to it. But at least that stop is in the freezone.

    At the other end of the popularly visited Crown Complex, well into the evening trams are often crowded until they reach the stop near it and Jeff’s shed. But Freezone ends at the previous stop of Batman Park, so they are all supposed to somehow get through the sardines to a Myki and touch on. I sometimes wonder if fee-free Public Transport would cost taxpayers less, given the cost of roads with a much lower peak capacity while so few cars carry even two people.

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