Wheelchair-Unfriendly Rapid KL Buses

Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) at Bangsar LRT Station
At the Bangsar LRT Station. Datin Paduka Chew (in blue) is standing next to Christine Lee.
Photo by Wuan.

Barrier-Free and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) consists of disabled persons who are concerned that no effort has been put into making public transport accessible in Malaysia, especially in Kuala Lumpur. With that in mind, BEAT Coordinator Christine Lee organised a group of disabled persons who are mostly wheelchair users to congregate at the Bangsar LRT Station in an attempt to board the Rapid KL buses there.

Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) at Bangsar LRT Station
Holding up the memorandum to demand for accessible public transportation.
Photo by Wuan.

Unfortunately, none of the buses have facilities to accommodate wheelchair users. This fact was acknowledged by Katherine Chew, Senior Manager Corporate Communications Division of Rapid KL. She then informed those present that Rapid KL will put into service 100 accessible buses within one month to address that issue.

Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) at Bangsar LRT Station
Katherine Chew, Senior Manager Corporate Communications Division of Rapid KL speaking to journalists.
Photo by Wuan.

BEAT also presented a memorandum to Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, Parliamentary Secretary to Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, who was present at the station. The contents of the memorandum included the call to the government to adopt and enforce accessibility standards for planning of all public facilities and public transport systems, and implement non-discriminatory policies and protect the rights and dignity of disabled persons.

Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT) at Bangsar LRT Station
No way to get into the new Rapid KL bus on my wheelchair.
Photo by Wuan.

At the same time, Katherine has invited NGOs of disabled persons to a dialogue with Rapid KL next week. This is to get feedback from the NGOs on how the bus network can best serve the needs of disabled persons. BEAT indicated that accessible public transportation will not only benefit disabled persons but the elderly, pregnant women and persons with temporary mobility impairments. In the meantime, we wait with bated breath for the 100 new accessible buses to ply the streets of Klang Valley.

Related entries:
Accessible Public Transport

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Minion to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. Columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. Principal Trainer at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

9 thoughts on “Wheelchair-Unfriendly Rapid KL Buses”

  1. but with that 100 buses, how many routes its gonna ply? what is the frequency? of that bus? not very practical but its a good start …they should make one specially just to go around the town … all major locations in town …

    Peter:
    Very good questions. Rapid KL wants NGOs to suggest places that disabled persons frequent often for them to service but that would be restricting our movement. What if I need to go to some place that the accessible buses do not cover?

  2. I wished Shahrizat Jalil, the MP for Lembah Pantai (which encompasses Bangsar) also Minister for Women, Family and Community Development was there. The unfortunate thing about Malaysia is that for most things to happen, Cabinet Ministers themselve have to get involved.

    I agree with earl-ku. 100 buses only? If Peter waits at the bus stop and no wheelchair friendly bus passes, he has to wait until one arrives? Anyway, 100 buses is better than none.

    The Star says that there will be 2000 buses in the Valley. So, about 5% of buses would qualify. And I guess they’ll equip only certain routes with these buses. Which routes then?

    Even in the unlikely event that all buses are wheelchair user friendly, pavements are already in such horrible state for pedestrians. And if I can complain about that, I think disabled persons have more reason to.

    Peter:
    This is an issue that I would rather see the Ministry Transport handle together with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and Ministry of Housing and Local Government because it encompasses a multitude of services and infrastructures. The bus stops will be labelled with the internation symbol of accessibility but as you pointed out, how frequent will those buses ply the routes? Many walkways around Kuala Lumpur are a hazard and the local councils are being run by heartless people who care not for the safety of pedestrains.

  3. Granted 100 buses isn’t going to be enough, it is a good start. Hopefully all the new buses from now on will have this facility.

    Peter:
    Hopefully…

  4. Yeah, now they have buses, eventhough 100 of it only … net prob would be how are they gonna get to the bus stop? aihhhh

    Peter:
    Again, good question. Among the points in the memorandum presented to Datin Paduka Chew, BEAT had asked for bus stops to be fully accessible too.

  5. Let’s hope that the words turn into action, if so that is a great step forward.
    What is the venue and time for the dialogue with Rapid KL?
    A good turn out of NGOs and other interested parties will perhaps help to get the wheels turning faster, so please let us know, thanks.
    Disabled friendly buses are a start, but there are numerous other issues to be addressed, as the disabled and the elderly are marginalised in Malaysia, as their mobility and independent living needs are all but ignored, this needs to be remedied urgently.

    Peter:
    The dialogue is on September 27, 2006, 7.30 pm at the Spastic Children’s Association of Selangor & FT.

  6. Good on ya Peter! I am there thanking you for helping the others, and thanking you for posting this..so other Malaysians would have better point of view of this type of service!
    Well done!

    Peter:
    Thank you to you too for the photos and video. It will be presented during the dialogue. Those pictures are worth several thousand words.

  7. You took the words right out of my mouth – I was going to say that the last picture with the bus steps was as good as a whole essay.

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