Australia Post Accessibility – an introduction
I use a wheelchair for mobility purposes and this blog is about Australia Post accessibility.
I rent a post office box at Prospect East. The post office is in the North Park shopping centre and surrounded by shops. It takes me only four minutes to get there in my powered chair.
Australia Postboxes at Prospect
The PO Box area wasn’t designed for people in wheelchairs
- the door is heavy
- the door is at an awkward angle
- the letterboxes are in a small area
I checked my letterbox in my powered wheelchair and got stuck until another client helped me out. There was no room to rotate, and backing out wasn’t an option, as I couldn’t reach the door. Another time, I tried rotating and had to lift up the front footplate, hold it in place, with my legs dangling each side.
I purchased a new powered chair and being slightly bigger, could no longer fit in the area. In order to give the PO BOX area a good test, I pushed my manual chair to the PO and wasn’t able to open the door.
There is an Australia Post accessibility problem!
I chatted to a staff member at Prospect, and they mentioned the mail couldn’t be redirected to my home. This didn’t seem right, so I raised a complaint with Australia Post. After a good chat with the area manager, I would be receiving a free redirection for a few months, to allow Australia Post to resolve the accessibility issue.
So who is responsible for Australia Post accessibility?
I asked Australia post multiple times, about the person who ensures the branches are accessible for all. I didn’t get a name, therefore, I assume no one performs this role. Later, I was told each area manager is responsible for accessibility.
My new home
I planned to allow deliveries to occur with ease, with an intercom, that I can answer from anywhere in the world. The garage door can be opened remotely to allow deliveries to be placed securely in the home. This works well for parcels that don’t need a signature. Or it should work well!
The Australia Post delivery driver that wouldn’t communicate
The doorbell rang, and I start chatting to an Australia Post delivery worker. I mentioned ‘Hello. I can’t get to the door’. It was a one-way conversation, as the driver disappeared, and headed towards the front door. He knocked on the door and kept knocking, as I attempted to shout at him, via the intercom.
The driver left a note ‘your parcel could not be delivered, as it required a signature’. Or something like this. There was another person at home, and they could have signed, but the driver didn’t listen. Maybe the drivers under time pressure? As he passed the intercom, I attempted to talk to him and once again, he ignored me.
Collinswood instead of Prospect
The driver decided to take the parcel to Collinswood. The journey in my wheelchair would take three times as long, and I had to cross North East Road. Collinswood PO is also located in the middle of nowhere. There is nothing else I can achieve at this location, as compared to the Prospect East PO.
The suburbs between my home and the Collinswood PO, have terrible footpaths. The ride was bumpy, and it increased my back pain. As the day was warm, I felt hot as I arrived at the PO.
After struggling to open the door, the inside of the PO felt hotter than the outside temperature. An SCI (Spinal Cord Injury) makes it difficult for me to regulate my temperature. I asked a staff member if they could make it cooler, and they said ‘no’.
The AC is pictured in the photo, either they wouldn’t turn it on, or it was broken. They didn’t explain. The front window mentioned ‘We’re here to help’. It was misleading. I raised a complaint and asked that the Collinswood PO be more accessible and cooler.
John Duthie delivers
One parcel delivered to Collinswood PO was 5kg, and I placed it on my lap. The other items were about 2kg and they were placed into a bag. I held the box and the bag with my left hand and steered with my right hand. The ride home took longer, as I had to take it slowly, and regularly adjust the parcels. To avoid the bumpy footpaths, I took the road most of the way, riding into the path of the vehicles in the bike lane.
It was illegal and dangerous, but Wheelchair John delivers.
Around 9 months later, I noticed workmen at the Prospect East PO. They installed a sliding door and made other modifications such as extra room and a table suitable for wheelchairs. I had a call from the area manager, Kym and he shared the news of the completion of the changes. I thanked him for listening and arranging to have the changes made. The staff at Prospect East placed my post office box at exactly the best height for me.
Well done Australia Post.