O-Bahn accessibility issues
John Duthie and thousands of other South Australians attended the Community Fun Day at the new O-Bahn tunnel. It now extends from Rymill Park to Hackney Road (Westbury Street). John was joined by Jo Blesing (candidate in BRAGG), Phillip Beddall (candidate in WEST TORRENS), the leader of Dignity Party, Kelly Vincent MLC, and Nick Schumi (candidate in ELDER). The day highlighted a few O-Bahn accessibility issues
What is the O-Bahn?
The O-Bahn system is a fantastic way of moving passengers from Adelaide CBD. The path follows the Torrens River, all the way to Tee Tree Plaza. Prior to his accident in 2009, John regularly took the O-Bahn from his home to work and back again. It only took him 15 minutes to walk to the bus, catch the bus to Adelaide, and then walk to SA Police headquarters.
The new tunnel O-Bahn accessibility issue
The tunnel will save time for commuters, as well as decreasing the traffic congestion, and there are other advantages including the 450 full time jobs during the life of the project. The bad news is the design hasn’t taken into account that some passengers will be in power wheelchairs. John was hit by a tree in 2009 because safety wasn’t a priority, and he wonders why the government of South Australia, hasn’t taken into account the safety of all members of the public. Power wheelchair users will not be able to quickly and safely exit the tunnel if there were an emergency such as a bus fire.
Burning rubber in the tunnel
A ramp placed in the middle of the track allowed John to demonstrate the difficulty powered wheelchair users may experience if they need to get over the middle of the O-Bahn track. He was interviewed by one of the three tv stations that recorded footage for their tv news.
John has previously challenged the SA Transport Minister, the Hon Stephen Mulligan. To sit in a powered wheelchair, and take part in an emergency evacuation from a bus in the new tunnel. So far, no reply. However, John managed to catch up with the Minister to talk about the idea. The Minister confirmed that there had been evacuation tests with wheelchairs in the tunnel. He couldn’t recall whether it included power wheelchairs.
John’s challenge has changed, as he doesn’t want to risk the safety of the Minister. John will volunteer to take part in the evacuation test. When will that be Minister?
The TV Report
Channel 9 featured a story about the opening and the protest by Dignity Party.