Disabled people face considerable challenges when it comes to accessibility or getting around on public transport, according to several pieces of new research.
Every 4 out of 25 passengers that board buses are persons living with a disability. And yet buses offer no alternative way for inclusion of these people. Inclusion is a term used by people with disabilities and other disability rights advocates for the idea that all people should take action to freely accommodate people with a physical, mental, cognitive, and or developmental disability.
Going by this definition, isn’t it high time that public transport places especially buses find a way for inclusion? Hustles with public transport among the disabled are a common thing, and many of the things that disabled people find difficult are often very simple daily Bus travel actions that most of us don’t think about twice such as absence of ramps on Buses.
If over 71% of people rely on buses for their daily commute to different places, then isn’t it obvious that 16% of these are disabled have to think twice before they can board any bus. It’s a comkon scenario to find several people call the Ugabus helpline each day with questions whose answers we often find hard to answer;
- How will I get on?
- Will there be space for me?
- How do I go through the congested town to get to the Bus Park?
- How will I get off?
Sadly, the bus owners ignore the fact that the disabled people also want to comfortably use the buses just like any other group of people and this makes them least satisfied with the bus services. The buses have narrow doors and high steps that make it impossible for wheel chair users to access them. Most wheel chair users have many negative experiences when trying to access the buses, lack of dignity and respect followed by frustration, anger and helplessness.
The people with disabilities want using the buses to be as simple and intuitive as ABC. Bus operators and the local authorities must act to cater for this group of people.
The drivers and staff must be trained on how to assist the people with disabilities so as to build confidence about using the service which of course is much safer for them as compared to taxis. And also as individuals, we need to do many things that would help the disabled to improve their travel experience and these include raising awareness amongst the Bus service providers and the wider public of the diverse needs of people with disabilities.
The write is a travel critique and freelance writer with Ugabus.com