Faulty lifts a problem

MLA Dave Kelly with local residents Shirley Jeffries, Joan Park, Loretta Lynes, Shelby Fink and Damien MacKenzie with his seeing eye dog Nina in one of three lifts at Bassendean station. Picture: Marcus Whisson
MLA Dave Kelly with local residents Shirley Jeffries, Joan Park, Loretta Lynes, Shelby Fink and Damien MacKenzie with his seeing eye dog Nina in one of three lifts at Bassendean station. Picture: Marcus Whisson

The train station has three lifts, installed in 2004 as part the Public Transport Authority’s Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) upgrades and three sets of stairs for commuters to access the platforms.

Damien MacKenzie, who is vision impaired, uses the train station at least five times a week with guide dog Nina and said it was frustrating because the lifts often didn’t work.

The Beechboro resident said people with disabilities, prams, shopping trolleys or in wheelchairs had no other option when the lifts were broken but to use the stairs, which could be hazardous.

‘Being vision impaired, it’s difficult to judge how wide a stair is, and Nina has to judge the same thing, so it takes longer and often I’ve missed my bus or train because of it,’ he said.

‘When it’s crowded it makes it a hazard to walk down the stairs; on the stairs everyone is trying to bump you out of the way.’

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said a significant number of these outages were due to mindless vandalism and not maintenance or mechanical issues.

Bassendean MLA Dave Kelly said the State Government expected patrons affected by broken lifts to catch taxis to stations that had wheelchair access, which was not practical and inconvenient.

‘The disability policy does not apply to the elderly, so if the elderly are confronted by a broken lift the State Government expects them to fend for themselves and battle the stairs,’ he said.

‘The answer is to have a ramp from the platform that leads to a ground level crossing such as the one at Bayswater.’

Mr Nalder said a ramp could not have been built at the train station because it would exceed the maximum length outlined in DDA codes.

Anyone who witnesses vandalism or suspicious behaviour should report it to the Transperth InfoLine on 13 62 13.