I, Milton Caine, personally choose to drive a Wheelchair accessible taxi because people with disabilities need real and effective assistance to do the things many of us take for granted. We at the C4C will strongly push so that every public place that a person with disability want to have access to they will be able to have access to, It is about time people with disabilities are proven to be full citizens by having full access to all public places.
I do understand many of the needs and the barriers that those with disabilities face on a day-to-day bases; yet many do not understand how to relate to a person with a disability. We need to change that so that there is a natural communication between those with disability and the rest of the community, for they are all a natural part of our community. I have seen the reaction of some in the community when they see a person in a wheelchair where they assume a contagious disease or the fact that they cannot hear or understand normal language; this must be fully addressed via education by both public advertising and as well within the school system. It is important that we all have, as much as possible, equal access to all public buildings and other infrustracture.
The link below shows that all the governments of Australia signed up to make sure that all public transport would be fully accessible to all with disabilities and thy have not reached this target at all. New South Wales has many rail stations that do not comply with wheelchair accessiblity; as well, most of the inter-city and country trains do not fully comply as the entry area on the intercity trains is not an appropriate place for a wheelchair customer to have to travel and on many of these trains is the only place that they can travel. Some stations being upgraded with lifts have shut the ramps during construction, leaving only steps to access the station’s platform. This is appalling and extremely poor management of the construction site whereby a difficult access is removed so that no access is possible.
Some shopping centres, including Westfield Kotara, have failed in giving equal access to persons in wheelchairs traveling to and from the shopping centre in a taxi; this is demonstrated by the segregation between the “normal taxi” rank and the wheelchair accessible taxi rank. (This is due to the refusal of lifting fittings leading to the taxi rank some 2 to 3 inches so that a wheelchair accessible can drive safely to the taxi rank). Such segregation must stop; I do not believe the Australian population would want such a segregation to be happening anywhere in Australia. We will seek to prevent this ever happening in Australia and especially in New South Wales. I was appalled that the Minister at the time of this construction was happening did nothing to make sure this segregation was not laid down in concrete.