Sunday May 20, 2007
PENANG: A survey on the needs of the wheelchair-bound will be conducted before RapidPenang can introduce disabled-friendly buses for them.
Making public transportation accessible for the wheelchair-bound could not be done overnight, state Local Government and Traffic Committee chairman Datuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said.
“We must first identify the main areas where wheelchair-bound passengers live and the places they normally travel to.
“It is not as simple as buying wheelchair-friendly buses which are costly. We are buying 150 buses equipped with special seats for the elderly, pregnant women and child-ren under the first phase,” he said, adding that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) could assist the state by providing such data.
Dr Teng was speaking to reporters after addressing participants of the Public Transport for Disadvantaged Groups forum at Penang Caring Society Complex yesterday.
He said that even Singapore, which was known for its efficient public transportation system, took many years to provide accessible transportation for wheelchair passengers.
“I think it took them about 20 years to achieve that. I was told that Singapore only provided buses with wheelchair facilities last year, plying only six routes initially. Now they have increased it to 10,” he said
Earlier, a memorandum on accessible buses for disabled persons was handed to Dr Teng. It was endorsed by 40 NGOs and individuals.