Tag: train

Five minute flicks part three

You’ve gotta love a movie with an excellent story line which you can watch in five minutes! I have twenty of them for you. Here are the second five.

One of the activities I led whilst Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner was the production of Twenty Years: Twenty Stories, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Disability Discrimination Act.

Watch these stories with me, because they show how the actions of the main characters changed their lives, and the lives of thousands of other Australians with disabilities. I’ll give you my review, then you can watch the movie.

Driving change:

Greg’s height prevented him from using most accessible taxis. So he checked the measurements, and found that they were not complying with the relevant standards. He drove change for himself, and hundreds of others. http://www.humanrights.gov.au/twentystories/video-driving-change.html

A call for support:

Parenting duties should not continue into your seventies, but the system is letting down two adult sons with mental illness. http://www.humanrights.gov.au/twentystories/video-call-for-support.html

Dee’s place:

A fantastic story of living life “just like my brothers” and the plans for getting to Gracelands. http://www.humanrights.gov.au/twentystories/video-dees-place.html

A Grand entrance but not for all:

Two queenslanders buck the system so they can share the grand entrance with everyone else. http://www.humanrights.gov.au/twentystories/video-grand-entrance.html

Graeme Innes v Railcorp:

All I wanted was for Sydney Trains to tell me the next station, just as their signs did for everyone else. Three years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees later they do. http://www.humanrights.gov.au/twentystories/video-graeme-innes-railcorp.html

Tune in for more movies in future blogs. Or if you just can’t wait, watch them all now.

Which ones are your favourites? Comments are very welcome.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

It was a hot sticky day in Sydney as I walked along the leafy suburban street with my first guide dog Jordie. I was wearing shorts and t-shirt, so put my phone and keys in the little backpack she wears – it’s usually filled with plastic bags for when I go on poop patrol.

As I walked past an outdoor cafe my phone rang.
“Hey Jordie,” I said “your phone’s ringing,” as I stopped to unzip the backpack and take the call.

I laughed out loud when I heard one of the latte sippers say to another – “oh look, that guide dog has its own mobile phone.”

Guide dogs often draw attention to the user. This can sometimes be positive – they are an excellent “chick magnet” –  but sometimes the attention is not preferred. And sometimes the questions asked range from funny to bizarre.

Here are some I have experienced. I’d love to hear your stories as a build-up to International Guide Dog Day on 30 April.

As I arrive (usually from a female) “Awww, isn’t he cute!”
My response, “Thanks, and the dog’s not bad looking either.”

As I get off the train, from an amazed schoolboy: “Wow, how does the dog know which station to get off?” My reply “She listens to the announcements, just like I do.”

Question to me “Is this the first time you have been here. How did the dog know the way?” My reply: “I let her borrow my GPS.”

I walk into the supermarket, and ask for some assistance to locate the items I need. Response “But can’t the dog find them for you?”

As I get into a taxi: “Does your dog bite?”
My response: “Only when she’s hungry. That reminds me, I haven’t fed her today.”

All of these stories are true. Please share your experiences with me and readers.

Graeme Innes is a man with a smart mouth, who constantly shares what amuses him with the rest of the world. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook ágraemeinnes.

Paralympic Gold Medalist And Guide Dog Fall From Train

Bart Bunty, who won paralympic gold for Australia in down-hill skiing several years ago, fell from a train with his guide dog Chevy last Friday as the result of no “next stop announcements”.

Bart, who was travelling to the Blue Mountains for the weekend, was on an inter-urban Sydney Trains train, which did not have next stop announcements. He attempted to get off the train at Leura, where the front two carriages pull up past the front of the platform. As well as no “next stop announcements”, passengers were not advised of this safety issue. Bart and Chevy fell onto the tracks.

Luckily, neither he nor his guide dog Chevy sustained serious injury, and were assisted from the tracks by the driver and guard. Bart has a twisted ankle and knee, and Chevy has a broken harness and a serious fright.

But this was a very near miss. A serious injury could have occurred as the result of no announcements on this train. These announcements are a requirement under the Disability Discrimination Act, as was demonstrated by my court action against Railcorp several years ago. And still they are not occurring on all public transport in NSW.

In my role as Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner I have called on the Premier of NSW, and the NSW Minister for Transport, to ensure immediate implementation of “next stop announcements” on all NSW public transport. I have also called for passengers to be advised, through announcements, of this and similar safety concerns.

Whenever a person who is blind or has low vision is using a large public transport vehicle, such as a train, tram or bus, we need to know where we are. We also need to be advised of significant safety hazards. This can only be done through audio announcements.

There has been improvement in the announcements made on Sydney Trains since my court case. But announcements must be made all the time, not just most of the time. And they must also be made on trams and buses, where they are currently sadly lacking. These announcements do not just benefit people who are blind or have low vision – many other passengers find them very useful, and would be safer if they occurred all the time.

I have sought urgent meetings with both the Premier and the Minister for Transport. Serious injury was avoided on this occasion, but we may not be so lucky next time.

What are your experiences on public transport – buses, trains, trams? Are the announcements adequate?

Graeme Innes is Australia’s Disability Discrimination Commissioner, and he and his guide dog Arrow are regular users of public transport throughout Australia.