Make city buses accessible for persons with disabilities: Minister

Asia-Pacific, Transportation, April 27 2017

NAGPUR, INDIA: On May 6, 2016 NGO Pandit Deen Dayal Institute of Medical Science, Research and Human Resources, along with PN Andhare, an activist working for the cause of persons with disabilities submitted a plan to ease the commute of persons with disabilities on Nagpur’s red city buses to union minister for road transport and highway Nitin Gadkari. Now, Gadkari has assured them that he will direct the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) to implement their plan.
A wheelchair user getting off an accessible bus began operating in Ho Chi Minh City on July 3. (Photo credit: Talk Vietnam)
The NGO and Andhare, a former scientist from BITS Pilani, undertook the project to study and present a plan to make the red city buses accessible at the behest of Gadkari after he had earlier noted that Nagpur city buses are not accessible. The new green buses are already accessible.

Dr Viral Kamdar, director of the NGO and a member of the state coordination committee for accessible run by the ministry of social justice and empowerment said, “This is a very important step in giving disabled people exposure by easing their hurdles in transport. Through this project we want persons with disabilities to come out of their homes and get an opportunity to travel like any other person and give them a chance to lead a more regular life, studying and making their own careers.”

According to the plan, the present buses could be altered a bit in a cost-effective way to make them accessible, instead of buying new buses which would cost Rs19 crore each.

“The normal buses in India have a three step entry system with a step height of 13 (first step from the ground), 10 and 10 inches each. As per the disability laws of the state, the recommended step height for persons with disabilities is maximum 6 inches, while the central PWD act 1995 requires ramp entry in buses,” said Andhare.

According to the proposed alterations, the buses will have special ramps which will act as doors while the buses are moving. The height of the two 10 inch steps will be cut to 6 inches each, and the remaining heigh difference and the first high step of 13 inches will be converted into the ramp-cum-door. Suggestions have also been made which will make it possible even for wheelchair users to access the buses.

Earlier, the same NGO had recommended Gadkari to form an advisory committee to help Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Limited (NMRCL) make the metro coaches disabled-friendly. Gadkari has given directives to NMRCL for the same. The committee is supposed to be made of non-governmental organizations working in the field of disability.

Dr Kamdar said, “The idea is not to make the metro coaches accessible by replicating a single model followed in other cities. Instead, the special committee will research on disabled-friendly metro coaches across the world. Indian persons with disabilitieshave also done researches in this regard, their ideas will be taken into account.”

Source: Times of India

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