The Star Metro
Thursday November 13, 2008
Getting in and out of buses a breeze for the disabled
Story and photos by CHARLES FERNANDEZ
FIFTEEN new Nadi Putra buses fitted with special lifters for the disabled or orang kurang upaya (OKU) were recently added to the current fleet of 55 buses servicing Putrajaya.
The newly-introduced buses will display the OKU sticker for easy identification and they come in four colours.
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Zulhasnan Rafique received the buses on behalf of the Putrajaya Corporation (PJC), witnessed by PJC president Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman, FT Deputy Minister Datuk M. Saravanan and FT Ministry secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib.
Boost for disabled: A passenger is being lifted onto the bus.
The lifter is placed at the back door and is controlled by the driver and the whole proceeding is viewed via a CCTV network fitted in the bus.
“Before the delivery of the new buses, Nadi Putra had 55 buses with 51 powered by NGV and four diesel-driven ones. Since June 2006 we use NGV for all buses operating here,’’ said Zulhasnan.
He said the 15 buses would service new housing areas in Precincts 5, 6, 15 and 18 to complement the current fleet of buses running the routes in Precincts 9 and 14.
“However, the numbers are still not enough to satisfy the needs of the residents and working community here who are encouraged to use the ‘Park and Ride’ system already in place,’’ added Zulhasnan.
As for long-term plans, Zulhasnan said the government had approved RM70mil for the purchase of another 104 buses which would be introduced in stages within the next two years.
When asked if the disabled community could use the services for free, Samsuddin said for the moment it was free.
“The fare is already subsided. It is only 50 sen,’’ he said.
Samsuddin added that the number of passengers using the Nadi Putra services had also increased from 100,000 in May last year to 230,000 until the end of October this year.