Transport is one of the most important infrastructures necessary for the all-round development of the society. Lack of transport leads to huge consumption in time, energy and capital which hinders the economic growth of the nation.
This is equally applicable for persons with disabilities, as transport helps them lead an active and a dignified life. All their day to day activities like health care, education, employment, and other social activities largely depends on their access to transport infrastructure.
Despite international charters like the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2008), national legislation like The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, and pan-India campaigns such as the Accessible India campaign (2015), persons with disabilities still witness barriers when public transport is concerned.
Some of the major barriers faced could include:
Public transport usually provides concessions in fares and special passes for persons with disabilities. These fares are low when compared to other options; however it proves to be still expensive and doesn’t equally cover all categories of disabilities. For example, the full fare concession provided for visually challenged persons has not been fully extended to other categories of disabilities.
On the other hand public transport doesn’t provide essential physical infrastructure hence makes affordability difficult.
- Inadequate physical infrastructure:
It refers to the universal design that ensures access to all irrespective of age, ability, etc. as mandated by international conventions, charters, national legislations and Indian Roads Congress guidelines.
Supporting infrastructure like lighting, surface pavements, wheelchair-friendly barrier-free access, provisions for Braille signage and audible messages need to be given immediate attention.
In addition to that, an assistant or a dedicated volunteer if present in all major bus stations would help persons with disabilities no end.
- Inaccurate and inadequate information:
Most of the times, a person with a disability needs to check a universally designed transport available before one leaves home, but these information’s are not readily available and also not up to date.
Therefore it is necessary that public transport need to have a ready made and accessible route map showing the accurate bus routes and bus stops so as to make life more convenient for persons with disabilities.
Further to this it also needs to be monitored and maintained and make necessary changes if and when required.
- Lack of inaccessible infrastructure inside the bus:
Most public transport that operates across the country is not disabled friendly, this is because the space within the buses in particular are too narrow, thus making it difficult for wheel chair users.
The steps leading in and out of the buses in particular are too high which makes it difficult for wheel chair users to enter.
Therefore it is necessary to work towards providing sufficient space inside buses so as to reduce barriers faced by persons with physical disability.
Disability Entrepreneurship And Leadership (DEAL) Foundation) works across the districts of Gadag and Bengaluru to promote sustainable livelihood opportunities for persons with disabilities.
We work to promote accessibility and inclusion for persons with disabilities in all streams. We conduct training programmes for both disabled and nondisabled members and help them develop an understanding on the importance of inclusion and accessibility so that persons with disabilities are in power with the rest of the society.
In addition to this, we also correspond with corporates, education institutions, banks etc. to promote awareness on inclusion and accessibility.
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To know more about the work we do, please log on to www.deal-foundation.com