Replacing trains with coaches: Implications for social inclusion in rural New South Wales

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Abstract

With the future of New South Wales (NSW) regional train services under question, concern has been expressed that replacement of trains with coaches will diminish levels of mobility and raise social exclusion for some people. Provision has been made on coaches for people considered to be disabled, but without recognition of the needs of people who do not fit either able or disabled categorisation. All train services offer better accessibility and therefore mobility to all people. The issue of regional train service cessation and replacement raises questions regarding the reliability of existing Australian studies about train service replacement, the degree to which health and illness are affected, as well as the potential for the exacerbation of existing social exclusion. An examination of the literature and some historical investigation undertaken by the authors highlights these limitations amid the ableism/disablism dualism in existing research and rural transport policy. The paper further suggests that the absence of Australian evidence of mobility loss should not be taken to indicate the reality of regional mobility and social inclusion. Instead the paper argues that further independent mobility loss and social exclusion may occur if coaches are further substituted for regional train services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-113
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Social Inclusion
Volume5
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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