Monday, 16 September 2013

4. Transportism

Hi, I’m Greg and I want to grumble about transportism.

Transportism is a little-understood problem in our society. Just as racism is discrimination on the basis of race, and sexism is discrimination of the basis of sex, so transportism is discrimination and disadvantage on the basis of one’s mode of transport.

Transport is important because it allows us to participate fully in society. Lack of access to transport or discrimination on the basis of transport means we can’t fully participate

If you drive a car, you have to have a licence, but it does not get checked every time you get in car. But when I catch the train home from work, I have to show my ticket to get on to the platform, walk 50 metres and show the ticket again when I get on the train, and then have a guard come by 5 minutes later to check that I have a ticket. That is petty transportism.

When I combine a bike and train trip home, only to get to the station to find that I can’t get home because “buses have replaced trains”, that is transportism. And when there is just no public transport available in many regional areas, or when the city transit system is built around office commuting and barely provides a service outside of that, that is transportism as people are disadvantaged because they rely on a particular form of transport.

Every time someone in a wheelchair can’t get into a building, or has to wait way, way longer than anyone else for a taxi because there are too few access cabs, that is transportism. People are being disadvantaged because their mode of transport is a wheelchair rather than by foot.

And then there is transportism in our immigration policy. Unfortunately in our world many people are forced to flee violence, dictatorial governments, religious intolerance or persecution. If they can fly to Australia they may ask for asylum and be treated with some respect and be offered support and protection. But if they arrive by boat, they will get shipped off to a tropical prison never to return to Australia. Their trauma, their claim for asylum and their need for protection may be equally as valid as someone arriving by plane, but different rules apply simply because they arrive by boat. They suffer discrimination and vilification and are denied equal protection under the law simply because of their mode of transport. That is transportism. I mean, really, what else could it be?

I am Greg, and I am grumbling.

This Grumble can be heard or downloaded at
First Broadcast: 27 August 2013