The Star – August 25, 2006: Letters To The Editor
EVERY time the Government announces a revamp of the public transport system, the disabled community will wait in anticipation for one that truly serves its needs.
Time and again, we were disappointed. No provisions had been made to accommodate wheelchair users in public buses.
Therefore, it was not surprising that I was filled with cynicism after reading the report on yet another revamp of the public bus system in Penang, “KL bus system for Penang, state’s transport system a failure” (The Star, Aug 24).
Public buses must not only serve people who can climb up the steps to board them.
To all intents and purposes, thought must be put into making them accessible by people who have mobility problems.
These include wheelchair users, the elderly, pregnant women and children.
The elderly have problem boarding the newest RapidKL buses that were put on the road recently. Wheelchair users have no way of getting into these buses.
Over the years, the Penang public bus system has gone from bad to worse. Old and dilapidated buses are still being used.
Should the Government decide to phase out these vehicles, I hope it will consider replacing them with no-step buses.
The height of no-step buses can be lowered to make it convenient for those with mobility impairment to get onto them.
Apart from that, they come with ramps for wheelchairs. This is the kind of public transportation that will serve everyone, including the severely disabled.
We seldom see severely disabled persons out and about here in Malaysia. It takes a tremendous amount of manpower to assist them from wheelchair into vehicles and vice versa.
An accessible and affordable bus system would reduce that hassle and allow them to get out more often.
I hope the Penang government will not only adopt the Kuala Lumpur bus system wholesale but also take into consideration the needs of the disabled community.
Pro tem president,
Society for Independent Living, Penang.