All aboard the train replacement accessible taxi

With works all over the rail network, train replacement buses have been a familiar sight around Melbourne. But in recent times something new has appeared alongside them – train replacement accessible taxis.

Passengers board Dysons bus #748 3183AO at Sunshine station

Thankfully inaccessible high floor buses are becoming a thing of the past – on paper the bulk of buses are now accessible to passengers using wheelchairs or mobility aids.

Some buses can be lowered by the driver so they are closer to the kerb. If needed, the bus driver will also use a ramp to help passengers board the bus. Low-floor buses have allocated spaces for passengers using wheelchairs or mobility aids. This area is marked on the floor with a wheelchair symbol.

But for some reason during major works, passengers requiring accessible transport are directed to taxis instead of buses.

Directions to Frankston, Cranbourne and Pakenham line buses on the footpath outside Flinders Street Station

Sent to a separate pickup area.

'Train replacement accessible taxi' sign at Sunshine station

Where wheelchair accessible taxis are waiting for intending passengers.

Pair of wheelchair accessible taxis waiting with a Ventura service van and standby bus off St Kilda Road

Each with a ‘DDA approved train replacement bus’ signs in their front window.

'DDA approved train replacement bus' sign in the front of a 13CABS maxi taxi

So why provide a separate mode of transport for passengers using wheelchairs or mobility aids?

I suspect clueless passengers is one reason – as soon as the driver had to deployed the ramp, some dumbarse will try and walk over it.

There are 17 other doors on this train, and this idiot passenger figured fighting past the wheelchair passenger trying to exit was the best way to board

Multiply by that by the number of buses needed to replace a rail service, it’s easier to keep the fleet of buses moving with the ‘self loading freight’ crammed aboard, and use taxis running point to point, unconstrained by zombie passengers getting in the way of manoeuvring wheelchairs and mobility aids.

Footnote

Accessible taxis are also used to transport passengers while lifts are being repaired or upgraded at City Loop stations.

Lift upgrade works underway at Flagstaff station

Transporting passengers to the nearest station that is still accessible.

Notice of lift upgrade works at Flagstaff and Parliament stations

They have also been used to transport passengers from stations where there are lifts but not ramps.

Notice on the platform informing passengers of lift upgrade works at Watergardens station

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3 Responses to “All aboard the train replacement accessible taxi”

  1. Michael Angelico says:

    I first saw taxitution on the Caulfield-Oakleigh job, and it was because the Murrumbeena-Hughesdale section was being skipped by the main bustitution route and provided by a minibus, which wasn’t accessible.

  2. Sanchez says:

    These have been offered for quite a while but aren’t “advertised” to avoid abuse. They even ran them off peak on the Carrum shuttle for all passengers. One of the main reasons is some wheelchairs don’t fit around the first bend between the first two seats and door.

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