NST – September 25, 2006: Disabled want better access to public transport

Disabled want better access to public transport
25 Sep 2006

KUALA LUMPUR: Disabled people are tired of broken promises, tired of pleading their cause and fed up that their needs are still being ignored.

Twelve years ago, the Barrier-free Environment and Accessible Transport (BEAT) group staged a protest against the Star LRT but nothing has changed.

“In 1994, a group of disabled persons staged a protest against the Star LRT for banning wheelchair users. Now, 12 years later, it is still inaccessible!

“With the exception of Putra LRT, KTM Komuter, KL Monorail, and now the newly-launched RapidKL buses, our needs have been ignored,” BEAT representative V. Murugeswaran lamented at a gathering of about 40 disabled people at the Bangsar LRT station yesterday.

They were at the launch of RapidKL’s new bus network covering Klang, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, Damansara, Petaling Jaya and Puchong.

Murugeswaran said the disabled felt excluded from society. Most cannot work because of poor access to public transport and buildings.

“We need to go out and work and contribute to society, and not be dependent on charity,” he said.

They handed a memorandum with their wish list to Women, Family and Community Development Parliamentary Secretary Datuk Paduka Chew Mei Fun, who was on an outing with the Senior Citizens Association, Selangor and Federal Territory.

Murugeswaran pointed out that Kuala Lumpur would be hosting the 9th Fespic Games from Nov 15 till Dec 1, the biggest event for disabled athletes in Asia and Oceania.

“What kind of impression are we giving to the international disabled community if we have no proper facilities? There’s a RM10 billion allocation to upgrade the public transport system, but there’s nothing for the disabled,” he said.

A RapidKL spokesperson said the transport company had bought 100 disabled-friendly buses with ramps. These would be delivered next month.

NST: Beat member Peter Tan demonstrating how impossible it is to board a bus

Related entry:
Wheelchair-Unfriendly Rapid KL Buses