Train station escalator speed fears raised

David SalvaireSound Telegraph

A Rockingham man whose elderly mother uses public transport says he fears for her safety after a spate of incidents on escalators across WA.

Last week, Transperth launched its escalator safety campaign aimed at seniors after 76 incidents were recorded in the past year.

Trained staff have been deployed to stations across Perth, giving advice to older passengers about the safe use of escalators, and situations where it may be better to use station lifts instead.

But Mark Dyer, of Rockingham, said the speed of escalators needed to be addressed.

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“Taking my mother on a train trip to Perth recently, I became acutely aware of how daunting, and potentially dangerous, the high-speed escalators at the Perth Underground station can be for an infrequent user, such as a senior citizen or tourist,” he said.

“It comes as no surprise, therefore, that senior passengers were the victims of many of the 76 accidents that have occurred on these Transperth escalators over the past year.

“Having the escalators operating at high speeds to move the high numbers of passengers that use the train service during the morning and afternoon peaks makes sense.

“However, senior citizens are far more likely to be travelling during off-peak periods, when they can take advantage of concession fares.

“Surely, armed with this basic knowledge, Transperth cannot claim to have taken all reasonable steps to mitigate the danger of escalator-related injuries to these vulnerable customers, unless they can demonstrate they have fully investigated the option of slowing these escalators to a safe speed during off-peak periods.”

Mr Dyer said Transperth’s campaign was superficial and patronising.

Stations with higher numbers of senior passengers have been targeted including Perth and Perth Underground, Murdoch, and Rockingham.

Transperth spokesman David Hynes said while escalators were a useful way of travelling quickly, they could also be dangerous for passengers with mobility issues, particularly elderly people.

“Trips and falls can and do happen on our network and can be very serious, which is why we’ve launched this campaign.

“It’s up to all of us to make the best choices when we’re out and about on the Transperth network, and we hope a friendly reminder where stations lifts are available will help keep our senior passengers travelling with us safely for many years to come.”

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