According to the survey done in 2013 we have 1.2 million disabled people in the state, with figures around 3.5% of population. There are lots of initiatives and programs happening across the government bodies and NGO’s in providing inclusive education, reservation in jobs for PWD, mainstreaming in private and corporate sectors, and infrastructure accessibility.
But nothing is done under the area of accessible and inclusive transportation which remain a key issue as people with disabilities have difficulties obtaining the transportation they need.
While the current governance is building on ‘Smart Cities’ and transportation being a key area of focus, the need to develop awareness and gaps to better understanding of access to transportation and mobility for people with disabilities, including access to traditional public transportation systems, private transportation services, and alternative transportation initiatives.
India was amongst the 80 countries that signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) abides elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility but due to lack of enforcement and varied standards the large population of people with disabilities and senior citizen erect barrier. With the existing inaccessible public transportation like KSRTC, BMTC city buses don’t have accessible features and lack accessibility standards, no proper facilitated bus stops, no ramps for wheelchair users, street crossings and pedestrian signals that are inaccessible to visually impaired people, and phone poles, trees and other barriers blocking sidewalks. These barriers leave large population of people with disabilities who cannot leave their homes because of transportation difficulties.
For many people with disabilities and senior citizens, life is severely limited by the lack of transportation. Some people with disabilities who are willing and able to work cannot do so because of inadequate transportation and to afford personal transport is impossible due to economic background. With majority of people who cannot shop, socialize, enjoy recreational or spiritual activities, or even leave their homes for the same reason.
- Automotive industry in India has by far not been looking into the space of accessible vehicles market.
- No private taxi services and enough social ventures to cater inclusive transport services.
- No special vehicles/transport by government to serve inclusive rides.
- No standardized policies/guidelines for under transport department for people with special needs.
- No provision wheelchair user’s access – Ramps, wheelchair lifts, Stepless low level floors, wheelchair secured with locks.
- No proper visual displays of information.
- No voice announcements made for calling out the next stops which helps an individual with a visual impairment and others in the disability community benefit as well.
- No capacity/provision to carry essential mobility aids (such as wheelchairs), and other disability mobility aids.
- No braille signage or other route board display at bus stations.
Currently public or private transportation sectors in the city have no standards catering to the needs for accessible vehicles and services. Majority of traveling are by general taxis and public transport by many people with disabilities, which pose real barriers to individuals who use wheelchairs or service animals and cross disability.
We need to have a lot base work to make progress on these fronts, and successful practices and policies for providing various modes of transportation are to be identified, which can serve as models for other communities. Wheelchair-accessible taxi services like (Kickstart and Mobility India) set ahead from others to establish such inclusive transport services. It also sets forth a variety of recommendations for service improvements and additional research that will lead to greater options for people with disabilities who have difficulties obtaining the transportation they need.
WHILE SCOPE OF OUTCOME IS TO IDENTIFY CURRENT STATE TRANSPORTATION BARRIERS, PROMOTE IDEAS AND INITIATIVES TO BUILD INCLUSIVE MODE OF SERVICES, FACILITATE SERVICES TO COMING UP WITH LOCAL SOLUTIONS AND BUILDING A PROMISING MODEL;
WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL TO AN “INCLUSIVE AND EXPANDED TRANSPORTATION OPPORTUNITIES FOR EVERYONE“
Now for your actions: SHARE YOUR PROBLEMS? SHARE IDEAS? SHARE IT WITH CHANGE AGENTS? SHARE TO SEE THE CHANGE