THE lack of public buses accessible to people with disabilities operating within Whiteman Park is unfair, says Dianella resident Malcolm Little.
Mr Little, who has muscular dystrophy and uses an electric wheelchair, said there should be an accessible Transperth bus that deviates into Whiteman Park’s main tourist area from Lord Street so people with disabilities and heavy prams were not disadvantaged.
Mr Little said the current bus stop on Lord Street was about 1.7km from the main tourist village.
‘The Caversham Wildlife Park can be contacted at the gate and will send a minivan, inaccessible to wheelchairs, to pick up visitors,’ he said. ‘This basically means that wheelchair-using visitors from overseas and the eastern states who wish to visit the attractions at Whiteman Park either have to travel over 3km across the lonely park, or pay a return fare of about $120 for a maxi taxi.’
The retiree, who had to quit volunteering at the park’s motor museum due to lack of transport options, said the solution was for Transperth buses 955 and 956 to and from Ellenbrook to deviate into the park at least twice a day.
Mr Little said no one should be disadvantaged because of a disability.
‘My opinion is that this situation amounts to discrimination and should be acted on immediately,’ he said.
Public Transport Authority spokesman David Hynes said it was reviewing the situation to see if it could find a solution for Mr Little that does not compromise the level of service to other customers.
‘We are always conscious of people with disabilities or mobility difficulties, and lead the Australian industry in compliance, or better, with national standards,’ he said.
Mr Hynes said the 955 and 956 services provided a bus every 10 minutes in peak times and 15 minutes off-peak between Ellenbrook and Bassendean train station, carrying about 2500 passengers on a typical weekday.
‘Any deviation to these services threatens efficiency and makes the journey longer and therefore less attractive to the great majority of commuters who are not travelling to Whiteman Park,’ he said.
Morley MLA Ian Britza, who will talk about the situation in Parliament on Thursday, supported Mr Little’s campaign.
‘I understand Transperth’s concerns about deviating the Ellenbrook buses but I think they should be considering other services outside the immediate area,’ he said.
‘Mr Little is not being unreasonable in his request and I think a trial service should be introduced to gauge demand from people with mobility issues such as Mr Little and tourists visiting the park.’