Is Melbourne wheelchair accessible?
From the F1 to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne is coming back to life. However, for those with a disability requiring the use of a wheelchair, the reopening city has significant barriers to entry. Getting to the event, finding places to eat and navigating the city are front of mind before even getting to the event. However, there are tools available to smooth out this process and help Melbourne be accessible for all.
Eating out in the city is usually a matter of first choosing which cuisine to enjoy. However, for wheelchair users, the first priority is whether or not the restaurant is wheelchair accessible. With no legislation requiring restaurants and cafes to be compliant to the needs of wheelchair users, finding a suitable restaurant is a difficult and time consuming process.
EnAccess Maps gathers information on wheelchair accessible restaurants. With ever-increasing reviews for many restaurants (in both the CBD and other suburbs), finding a wheelchair accessible restaurant is now much easier. Taking into consideration each person’s unique circumstances, users of EnAccess Maps can filter for their specific needs. These vary from the height of tables, the availability of suitable toilets and if accessible parking is nearby, for example.
The public transport system is hit and miss when it comes to wheelchair accessibility. Trains are the far superior transport in this regard, with all stations (bar Heyington) being wheelchair accessible. In addition, drivers are trained on how to help wheelchair users board and are considerate to individual’s needs.
Trams and routes are only somewhat wheelchair accessible. Newer models of trams have made inroads on this issue. Wheelchair users can access some stops and get on the trams without assistance. There are also designated areas on trams (and trains) which provide priority areas for wheelchair users.
However, this form of transport is far from satisfactory, with only 27% of tram stops being wheelchair accessible. Oftentimes, non-wheelchair accessible trams also operate on these routes, making it a stressful experience. The waiting time can stretch to 20 minutes. To ease this stress, Tram Tracker has a wheelchair accessible trams feature. This indicates the time of the next accessible tram by showing both a wheelchair symbol and the minutes to arrival. These details are also on electronic signs on most tram platforms.
Most local buses in Victoria are wheelchair accessible. To learn more, contact your local bus operator.
Getting around Melbourne
Melbourne is also known for its cobbled lane ways as well as its steep streets. Neither of these are wheelchair accessible, making access of the city difficult or impossible to access. The City of Melbourne has a tool to help plan your journey around the city. Lonely Planet also has a Free Accessible Melbourne Guide to get the most out of Melbourne for all travellers and locals.
Our mission is for EnAccess Maps to become the go-to wheelchair access guide. We want to provide a platform for both the local community and the spirited traveller - looking to plan and find wheelchair accessible restaurants and cafes. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and join our mailing list to join us on our journey!