Melbourne airport has announced that they would be changing where passengers can locate their transport services when departing the airport. In the new plan which will be operational next week, disabled passengers will be forced into an obstacle course merely to reach their wheelchair accessible taxi.
The new plan, creates an Uber rank front and centre as passengers leave the terminals, pushing taxi services hundreds of metres away despite taxis accounting for 70% of all trips.
This is clearly not a response to passenger demand.
Rod Barton believes this is all part of a secretive commercial arrangement between Uber and Melbourne airport.
No disability groups were consulted prior to this decision being made. In fact, it is Barton’s understanding that the Disability Resource Centre has only been briefed this afternoon in the hours prior to this announcement.
Disabled passengers will be forced to make their way the length of the airport to reach a taxi at terminal 1 or head to terminal 4, which forces them to go up a level just to reach a taxi rank.
Currently, Uber does not provide wheelchair accessible vehicles and have claimed they have no intention to provide these services in the future.
Melbourne airport has cleared the way for Uber, providing them with an unfair commercial advantage while dismissing the needs of vulnerable and disabled passengers.
Barton is severely disappointed to see Melbourne airport was bought out so easily by a multi-national corporation that cares only about lining the pockets of Silicon Valley billionaires.
This Uber rank is not available for other rideshare services, which still will have to use the existing pickup area.
This is hardly fair.
Melbourne airport should not be giving a minority market player, Uber, a commercial advantage at the expense of disabled passengers.
Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan and the Leader of the Transport Matters Party Rod Barton MP:
“This is an appalling decision. This is a shameful commercial grab to prioritise the Uber business model over disability services and industry participants.”
“Disabled passengers will now have to travel the length of the airport and up a liftin a wheelchair dragging a bag just to reach a wheelchair accessible vehicle.”
“My understanding is that no disability groups have been contacted prior to this decision being made. This is the cost of privatising public assets.”