Thursday April 26, 2007
PENANG: The state government will bring in buses equipped with facilities for wheelchair passengers once the new RapidPenang bus system is running smoothly.
The RapidPenang bus service is scheduled to start operations in August with 150 buses initially.
State Traffic Management Committee chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said buses with facilities for wheelchair passengers would have to stop longer for boarding and could disrupt arrival schedules.
“Such buses do not fit into the first phase of the RapidPenang bus service system which we have to ensure runs efficiently first,” he said.
Dr Teng said another 100 new buses with facilities for wheelchair passengers would be brought in.
He said the 150 buses for the first phase were equipped with special seats for the elderly, pregnant women and children.
“They are low-floor buses, meaning that the elderly and pregnant women do not have to climb many steps to board them,” Dr Teng added.
The state government’s decision to bring in non-disabled friendly buses has drawn flak from the Barrier-Fee Environment and Accessible Transport Group (BEAT).
Its coordinator Christine Lee said cost should not be a justification for not bringing in such buses.
The Support Group Society for the Blind of Malaysia secretary Abdul Karim Stuart Russell wrote to The Star suggesting that the Penang government used buses equipped with all the necessary facilities for everyone to use.