The Star – March 13, 2007: Disabled to get say in transport policy

Tuesday March 13, 2007

Disabled to get say in transport policy

By SIM LEOI LEOI

PUTRAJAYA: Disabled groups will get their say in public transport policy, with the setting up of a government committee to look into their grouses.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the committee, chaired by deputy secretary-general (planning) Long See Wool, would also have representatives from agencies such as Malaysia Airlines, RapidKL, KTM Bhd, City Hall and the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board.

“Previously, when disabled groups had grouses, they had to personally convey them to the different firms involved.

“With this committee, they will have a platform to allow them a voice and an exchange of views on all public transport planning, without them having to go to the individual companies. This is a better way for them to tackle these issues,” he told reporters after receiving a memorandum from members of the Barrier-Free Environment and Accessible Transport Group (Beat) at his office here yesterday.

Beat is an alliance of 16 disabled groups in the country.

The committee, said Chan, would discuss ways to make the public transport system more disabled-friendly as well as future plans.

“It will also recommend how transport companies can improve their services. We are mindful that the disabled need to have access to public transport to commute,” he said.

Chan said the groups had also requested for their needs and interests to be included in the public transport masterplan for cities, which had been commissioned by the Cabinet committee on public transportation.

“We are in the midst of appointing a consultant to come up with the masterplan and in our terms of reference, we have mentioned for the needs of the disabled to be taken into consideration.

“Having disabled-friendly access to public transport will not only benefit the targeted group but senior citizens as well,” Chan said, adding that once the consultant had been appointed, the masterplan should be ready within nine months.

Beat assistant coordinator V. Murugeswaran said he was happy with the decision.

“We have been waiting for such a committee as we need a forum to voice our views,” he said, adding that the group would continue to fight for more access to public transport, particularly on buses operated by RapidKL, which currently only served trunk roads.