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melbourne trams exemption notice

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Friday 14 December, 2012

melbourne trams exemption notice

Notice of HREOC
exemption decision re: Public Transport Corporation (Victoria) and Others

Disability
Discrimination Act 1992

Application pursuant to section 55 for exemption from a provision
or provisions of Part 2, Divisions 1 and 2

Notice of decision

The
Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission gives notice of a decision
made on 15 March 1999 under section 57 of the Disability Discrimination
Act 1992
("DDA") concerning trams and light rail in Melbourne.

Applicants

The
exemption application was submitted jointly by

  • the
    Public Transport Corporation (PTC) established under the Transport
    Act 1993
    (Vic.)
  • Met
    Tram 1 and Met Tram 2, established under the Rail Corporations (Amendment)
    Act 1997
    (Vic.), and  which are now known as Yarra Trams (YT)
    and Swanston Trams (ST)
  • the
    Department of Infrastructure (DoI) which  administers the operation
    of public transport in Victoria under the  provisions of the Transport
    Act and other legislation
  • the
    Minister for Transport for the State of Victoria.

Decision
of the Commission

The
Commission grants a conditional exemption from the provisions of section
23 and section 24 of the DDA in respect of the manner in which the applicants
provide tram and light rail services in Melbourne. The exemption extends
only to matters:

  • arising
    from provision of services using vehicles  forming part of the
    applicants' fleet at the date of this decision and
  • relating
    to physical access to those vehicles.

The
exemption is subject to the following conditions.

  1. The
    exemption commences on 16 March 1999 and expires  on 15 March 2004.
     
  2. The
    applicants are to implement the action plan 21st Century Accessibility
    (the action plan) lodged under DDA section 64 with the Commission on
    4 November 1999, as varied by  the amendment to that action plan
    lodged by the applicants on 9 March 1999.
     
  3. Without
    prejudice to the importance of the action  plan as a whole the
    applicants are to implement the following undertakings  given in
    the action plan:
     
    1. provided
      that an adequate interface between low  floor trams and infrastructure
      can be achieved, new trams will be  introduced in Melbourne commencing
      in 2002 with 106 vehicles being  replaced by the end of 2004
      by 90 larger capacity low-floor vehicles
    2. apart
      from the issues of physical access dealt  with by the exemption
      the applicants will bring existing trams into  compliance with
      the draft DDA Standards for Accessible Public Transport  by continuing
      the program of on-vehicle measures including improvements  to
      such features as stop buttons, pull cords, grab rails, handrails, 
      lighting along tram aisles and destination signs
    3. the
      53 W-Class trams to be retained for heritage purposes will operate
      according to the scheme described in section 5.4.6 of the action plan
      only on routes where as far as reasonably possible an accessible alternative
      is available or will become available.
       
  4. Where
    a routinely timetabled service operated by W-Class trams is provided
    to the public free of charge on a particular route then the accessible
    alternative must be provided free of charge to those people with disabilities
    who are unable to access W-Class trams at least as frequently as the
    service provided by the W-Class trams.
     
  5. The
    applicants are to require as far as possible  that any person who
    operates privatised services will also implement the  action plan
    or an action plan lodged by that person that is at least as  beneficial
    to people with disabilities as the action plan.
     
  6. The
    applicants are to publish annually a report on  progress towards
    implementing the action plan and are to include in that  report
    any steps taken by operators of privatised services that improve 
    accessibility. This condition applies not only to tram and light rail 
    services but to all matters covered by the action plan.
     
  7. If
    the applicants conclude that an adequate interface between low floor
    trams and infrastructure cannot be achieved and the introduction of
    low floor trams cannot commence in 2002 then the Commission will consider
    alternative appropriate exemption conditions that will facilitate implementation
    of the action plan.

The
effect of the decision is that if the applicants commence in 2002 to replace
with accessible trams their existing fleet then they will not be acting
unlawfully in continuing to provide services with trams that are now part
of their fleet even though those may be inaccessible to some people with
disabilities.

This
decision applies to services operated by the applicants and to privatised
services as defined in the finding and reasons referred to below.

Finding
and reasons

In
making this decision the Commission accepted the findings and reasons
contained in the recommendation and statement of reasons prepared by the
Acting Disability Discrimination Commissioner and published by the Commission
on the Internet at the following address:

www.hreoc.gov.au/disability_rights

Copies
may also be obtained by telephoning the Commission's Disability Rights
Unit on 02 9284 9613.

Review
of decision

Subject
to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975, application may
be made to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the decision
to which this notice relates by or on behalf of any person or persons
whose interests are affected by the decision.

Alice
Tay
President

on
behalf of the Commission

16
March 1999