The Disability Action Group Eastern Region (DAGER) is a community based group focused on improving accessibility within Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, including the City of Maroondah. The group meets on a monthly basis and often has guest speakers at its meetings. This morning the group held a combined meeting with Scoot Wheel n Move, a community group which is focused on the needs of people with mobility aids, to discuss public transport issues relevant to Maroondah and the broader eastern region.
The meeting included presentations from Brian Tee, the Parliamentary Secretary for Public Transport, as well as representatives from Metro. Brian spoke about the Government’s Victorian Transport Plan, as well as the bus reviews, where he outlined some of the network wide improvements that are planned for Melbourne’s public transport system. In particular, the Ringwood to Frankston SmartBus will be extended from Ringwood from 2011 to provide another orbital route across Melbourne’s northern and eastern suburbs, similar to the recently upgraded orbital services from Box Hill and Nunawading. Other improvements include extending route 670, along Maroondah Highway, to Swinburne University in Lilydale, as well as more frequent services which are due to begin in July.
While these upgrades are definitely welcomed, there are still further improvements required for the Maroondah community, including the need for commitment to the long-term recommendations in the bus service reviews. These improvements include new and more frequent services and it is imperative that the Government commits to their implementation.
In addition there is the need for a commitment to the complete redevelopment of Ringwood Station, with many members of the group sharing their adverse experiences with Ringwoood Station. The steep and narrow ramps at the Station fail disability compliance standards making it difficult to access for people with disabilities and mobility aids. This lack of access hampers the ability to create a sustainable and inclusive urban centre and it is imperative that the State Government fully commit to the redevelopment of the Station.
The combined meeting between the Disability Action Group Eastern Region and Scoot Wheel n Move demonstrates the passion and strength that exists within Maroondah for an inclusive and accessible community. Both groups meet on a monthly basis and have proved to be strong advocates for creating a more inclusive municipality.