July 23, 2019

Horse 2575 - Doonside Station Needs A Lift But The Transport Minister Just Laughs Like A Knave

Ha ha ha, let's all laugh at all the people falling down the stairs.
...is the only real reason that I can think of, that despite repeated petitions to the NSW State Government, there are still no lifts at Doonside Station.

- Welcome to Doonside: Stuck In 1974.

It could be argued that because I have two perfectly good legs and am at a level of fitness which is at least fit for the purpose of playing football, that I have no need of a lift at Doonside Station. While that may be perfectly true, it is also reasonable to assume that one day, I will eventually be enfeebled to some degree, and that my current level of fitness and ease of movement in the world will not continue forever.
The Grim Reaper as a rule, moves at approximately 1 mile an hour¹; which means to say that when people become so enfeebled that they can no longer outrun him, he collects his harvest. However, most people's walking speed is between 2 and 4 miles an hour; and some people have mobility issues.

- How are you going to get down that in a wheelchair?

If you are old, or pregnant², or have a push chair or perambulator, or injured and are on crutches, or in a wheelchair, or nauseous and horky-borky-chucky-wucky³, then having proper lift access to buildings, railway stations, supermarkets, shopping centres et cetera, all become useful and indeed necessary. Even the way that we design roll kerbs, makes life easier for these people.

As a society, we really only became interested in looking at better access for people with mobility issues after the First World War, when people who had served their nation and had come back with serious injury now found that they couldn't access places. That ongoing fight extended well into the twentieth century and was/is still ongoing in my lifetime.

If you are in a wheelchair, then getting up a 200mm kerb may as well be like trying to get to Mars for all the good it does you. Yes, there have been people of limited mobility who have achieved some amazing things and ascended mountains but the way that we design public spaces shouldn't mean that they need to every time that they want to get on a train. You shouldn't need mountaineering skills to go up and down Mount Doonside Station.

- Keep Left On Stairs and Ramps? But there aren't any ramps down to the platform.

- Maybe kiddies in prams will think falling down the stairs is a fun ride?

The thing is though, that things like lift access, ramps, and roll kerbs, are all non-competitive pieces of public infrastructure and design. The provision of these things is not a disadvantage to everyone who does not need them but rather, an advantage for those moments of edge cases.
Completely able bodied people, who might be carrying goods, moving a bicycle, who are tired, or even who are just plain lazy, also benefit from the provision of lift access, ramps, and roll kerbs.
Given that there is no disadvantage to provide access to infrastructure and that there are benefits to everyone for doing so, then not doing so (repeatedly, I should add), is either apathy or malevolence.

- There are no people in this photo. Is it because people don't use something that they can't use?

It should also be so obvious that it does not need to be stated, that peoples' circumstances change. People generally get old. Some people get pregnant². Some people will suffer life changing injury. To assume that the provision of these pieces of public infrastructure is only for people who currently are in need of them, is the height of arrogance and denial of fact. 
It should also be so obvious that it does not need to be stated, that the non-provision these pieces of public infrastructure, makes life more difficult for the people who rely on them. In the case of Doonside Station, which doesn't have lift access to the platforms, then for people whose mobility is limited, then in some instances this is like the outright denial of service of the railway station. If a railway line is built for the purpose of moving people from one place to another and people do not have access to the railway station by dint of mobility issues, then the railway line has for them, failed at its reason for existence.

- Maybe someone in a wheelchair could try jumping down?

The reason why I write this post in particular, is to shame and ridicule the NSW Transport Minister into action. From what I can gather, some kind of petition has been made by the people of Doonside (on a repeat basis) for a lift since 1994. That means to say that if there were old people who needed access to Doonside Station when the campaign started, then they have in all likelihood died and been replaced by new old people.

- Nope. They would have missed that train.

As this started in 1994, which was 25 years ago, that also means that this is a bipartisan case of either laziness or stupidity. Of course I could be too generous in my estimation and this could be a genuine case of knavery on the part of the Transport Ministers on both sides of the political divide, which might be a reasonable thing to assume given that the people who we pay to govern us, might not necessarily be aware of the existence of anything outside Macquarie Street. Since they know not of the existence of the people of Doonside, and since they do not empathise with their mobility issues⁴, they do not care. Certainly based upon the evidence of the current Transport Minister Andrew Constance, that appears to be the case. Former Transport Minister, Gladys Berejiklian, is aware of the world beyond Macquarie Street because pointing at railway stations affords her with the pleasurable gifts of fame and glory from photo opportunities. I of course note the completely not in any way shape or form non-partisan and certainly non-pork barrel fact that the new Northwest Metro just happens to end in Ms Berejiklian's constituency.

- And even it you were in a wheelchair, you're still not going to fit through that thing.

I therefore submit in evidence, photographs of the current situation at Doonside Station. I hope that as you look at them, you cackle and guffaw to yourself in the manner of a pantomime villain; because I can only assume that for the last 25 years, this has been the attitude of the Ministers for Transport. Think about how delicious it must be for the Transport Minister to laugh as old people, pregnant ladies, people with push chairs and perambulators, people in wheelchairs, people on crutches, the injured, the sick, and even the lazy, are exasperated yet again by the lack of action.

Of course this could all be so easily solved if the Transport Minister Andrew Constance actually bothered to care one iota. Until then, I will point my pointy finger of shame and give him a very hard stare. 

¹The Metric system is not in use in Hell. They still use the Imperial system, for the sole purpose of making the underworld as difficult as possible.
²Or even Gregnant: that is, pregnant with a child named Greg.
³Please wait until you have exited the lift. Horky-borky-upchuck in a lift is unpleasant.
⁴They themselves being in receipt of government car provision and therefore have no need of public transport.

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