As Tigtog discussed while I had this post desultorily in draft (it’s school holidays here!), the Daily Telegraph has posted a followup on CityRail’s complete lack of any workable emergency evacuation plans for people who can’t walk: CityRail plan to abandon disabled.
The comments section is worth a look. “paul of sydney” starts assigning value to people’s lives, and guess who’s not worth anything?
OK Morris, so its unacceptable for a fellow to be stuck on a train for a few hours while they get a forklift onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge to lift him off. So lets spend $100 million or so of taxpayers money to retrofit each and every CityRail train for something that might not happen again for another 20 years.
Get this, “paul” – the trains shouldn’t be retrofitted, because they should have been built with facilities for disabled people IN THE BLOODY FIRST PLACE. Accessibility shouldn’t be an afterthought. And you, or any reader here, could next week be the person in the wheelchair who gets to sit in a train carriage alone while you burn to death, or inhale toxins, or just starve or dehydrate, forgotten, over hours or days without a means of communication.
Bob Hodge touches on this situation in “The Complexity Revolution”:
“My new friends at NSW Rail would be very unhappy with this story. It would not help much to tell them that this is a standard “human interest’ article, nor that it is more complex than it looks. For instance, MacCauley is not typical of standard passengers who usually concern complexity-2 planners of rail networks. He is another butterfly, whose specific needs would be hard to predict or cater for.”
“Hard to predict”? No, no, no, no, no. It’s not a complex, unpredictable trivial detail that people who use wheelchairs also use public transport. It’s not a bizarre, unforeseeable event that sometimes systems will fail and you’ll need to use your backup system. Disabled people aren’t going to go away just because you want to pretend they don’t exist. Sheesh, this isn’t even Public Facilities 101, it’s junior school level.
Can anyone with a knowledge of disability law offer their perspective? Surely “Oh, um, I guess we could say that we, er, just wait for ambulances, then stretcher them out or something, yes, that sounds ok!” can’t be a legal emergency plan?