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Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles for V/Line

Sep 1, 2022 | News, Parliament

Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:08): My question is for Minister Pulford, representing the Minister for Public Transport. It has been brought to my attention that V/Line has allegedly put in an order for 15 wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Of course, if this allegation is true, it will have an adverse effect on those who are already supplying wheelchair-accessible services in rural and regional Victoria. Minister, can you confirm if V/Line has in fact put in an order for wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and if so, how many?

Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Resources) (12:09): I thank Mr Barton for his question, and I will seek a written response from Minister Carroll for him.

 

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles for V/Line?

No Description

Mr BARTON (Eastern Metropolitan) (12:09): Thank you, Minister. With V/Line purchasing wheelchair-accessible vehicles, this means they would be going into competition with those who supply wheelchair-accessible services in rural and regional Victoria. I have no doubt that this decision is a direct consequence of the government opening up the multipurpose taxi program to Uber. Uber stated at the recent multipurpose taxi program inquiry they have no intention to provide wheelchair-accessible vehicles. Uber cherrypick the work that suits them and are partly subsidised by the government, leaving regional taxi services with smaller and smaller margins. For some providing wheelchair-accessible vehicles to their local community it has now become untenable. Minister, is the Department of Transport now attempting to address a market failure of its own making?

Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business, Minister for Resources) (12:10): I thank Mr Barton for that supplementary question. I will ask Minister Carroll to provide a written response for the member.

 

RESPONSE RECEIVED 5 September 2022

I thank the Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region for his question.

No order of any vehicles of this type has been made.

V/Line’s first priority is always for passengers to travel by train, but if there is a reason they are unable to, V/Line will seek to organise alternative transport in the form of a replacement coach or taxi. V/Line is continually looking for ways to improve the delivery of its services to ensure all passengers across regional Victoria can get to where they need to go.

V/Line is committed to working towards ensuring public transport across Victoria is accessible for everyone and this will continue to be its focus.

The Victorian Government’s changes to the Multi Purpose Taxi Program (MPTP) since 2017 have led to greater choice for MPTP members. Since October 2017, the total number of registered wheelchair accessible vehicles in Victoria has increased from 637 to 947 (as at 30 June 2022) with average wait times for wheelchair accessible vehicles significantly reduced.  The Victorian Government has also acted on concerns about the availability of wheelchair accessible vehicles and increased the MPTP lifting fee for wheelchair accessible vehicles by more than 20 per cent, from $21.80 to $26.80, from 1 July 2022.

However, a report on the MPTP by the Legislative Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee raised some concerns, and the Department of Transport (DoT) will undertake a review of the supply and location of wheelchair accessible vehicle CPV services. The review will inform DoT’s advice to the Minister for Public Transport.

Hon Jaala Pulford MP

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