I am not blind nor the only one complaining about it and all the luck in the world for Mr Innes. If he loses, I suggest that the judges be blindfolded and instructed to get from point A to B on the network.
March 2, 2012
CAPTION: This matter should not be coming to court" ... Graeme Innes. Photo: Brendan Esposito
GRAEME INNES is claiming damages, but what he really wants is for his problem to be fixed.
Instead the problem, a failure to make clear station announcements on the trains, is headed to court.
Since last April, the Disability Discrimination Commissioner has lodged 52 complaints with Railcorp - more than one a week - when he could not hear the announcements on his train.
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''I've worked hard to resolve the complaints with meetings with executives and the minister,'' he said.
He says he is disappointed mediation failed last week and that the matter is now heading to the Federal Magistrates Court, probably later this year.
''This matter should not be coming to court,'' he said. ''I think it is the sort of matter where the law has clearly been breached,'' he said. ''Railcorp ought to be getting on with fixing the problem.''
He complained twice this week - once when the announcements on the train were sporadic, and once when the equipment was faulty and announcements could not be understood.
''I have to concentrate much harder on a whole lot of other clues from train noises,'' he said.''It means my journey is a lot less relaxed. I can't read … it causes me a fair degree of stress.''
He has claimed a token $1000 damages, which will go to charity if he wins. The Public Interest Advocacy Centre, which is running the case for him, is seeking court orders saying that on each time Mr Innes complained, Railcorp breached disability laws and public transport legislation.
''They are giving the information to people who can see and not to people who can't - it's discrimination,'' he said.
Mr Innes wants the court to order Railcorp to invest in training and equipment.
Innes v Railcorp: next stop, court http://www.piac.asn.au/news/2012/03/innes-v-railcorp-next-stop-court
For almost a year, Graeme Innes AM (pictured) has been urging RailCorp NSW to get serious about its obligations towards rail passengers who have a disability.
CAPTION: Portrait of Graeme Innes AM
Mr Innes, who is blind, has made repeated complaints regarding RailCorp’s failure to provide audible announcements on trains. These announcements are crucial because they allow passengers with vision impairment to know that they are getting off at the right station.
PIAC is representing Mr Innes in disability discrimination proceedings against RailCorp. Mr Innes, who also happens to be the Disability Discrimination Commissioner, made 36 complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission between April and September last year, alleging that RailCorp trains failed to provide clear and audible announcements.
Mr Innes alleges that RailCorp is in in breach of federal disability discrimination law.
A mediation hearing on 24 February was unsuccessful. PIAC anticipates the matter will proceed to hearing in the Federal Magistrates Court later this year.
Related coverage: Railcorp to explain poor announcements, SMH 2 March 2012