The following photos were taken at The Gardens Mall. Wuan and I were on our way back to the car after shopping. As we came out from the lift lobby at Level P2, we saw this Volkswagen Polo parked in front of the ramp to the car park. That was not a parking space in the first place. The car was parked so close to the ramp that there was not enough space for me to maneuver my wheelchair. In fact, my wheelchair could not even totally get off the ramp. My legs would have hit the car with the wheelchair’s back wheels still on the ramp. And that was the only ramp to the car park from the lift lobby.
Car blocking the only ramp from the lift lobby to car park at The Gardens Mall Level P2 basement car park.
Photo by Wuan with the Samsung Galaxy S II.
I had no choice but to get Wuan to lift the wheelchair, with me, down the kerb. If I were by myself, it would have been impossible for me to get down to the car park. With access to the ramp blocked, it was also impossible to get to the lift lobby from the car park. I complained to the security personnel afterwards. He came out to have a look but did not seem to take any action in clamping the car for the nuisance it has created.
Another view of the car blocking the ramp at The Gardens Mall Level P2 basement parking.
Photo taken with the Samsung Galaxy S II.
It is inconsiderate people like this driver that makes life difficult, not only for disabled people, but also for shoppers with trolleys and baby prams. This is also the reason why many disabled people are unable to be independent outside of their homes. Apart from the environment being not fully accessible, ignorant and inconsiderate people also add to the problems by making accessible facilities inaccessible.
No, I am not talking about the shock most of us experience when we look at the mirror in the morning. The ugly Malaysians here are those inconsiderate few who make life miserable for many disabled people. Their acts have caused a great deal of inconvenience to us, directly and indirectly.
Accessible parking at Lot 10 blocked by a sign.
They park indiscriminately in bays allocated to disabled people, blatantly ignoring the clamp and fine warnings because most times, this ruling is not enforced. To stop such abuse, car park managers barricade these bays with parking cones or chain them up. However, this does not solve the problem at all as the barricades also prevent disabled people from parking in the bays.
Security personnel unlocking chained up accessible parking at Jusco Kinta City Ipoh.
Some car park managers leave a phone number to be called for assistance. Others have security personnels nearby that can be summoned by a honk. The real problems are in car parks that are barely manned, and especially when the disabled driver is unaccompanied. This restricts disabled people driving solo to only a handful of places.
Accessible parking bays at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur blocked by traffic cones.
The act of having to put up warning signs and barricades at accessible parking bays clearly shows the mentality of some drivers. These inconsiderate people would park in one, without a second thought, if they could get away with it, and most of the time they do. This perpetuates the abuse as offenders are emboldened by the lack of enforcement.
Signboard at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur warning against abusing accessible parking.
As I see it, putting up barricades is not a solution to stem this abuse. Car park managers, including local authorities, must strictly enforce the clamp and fine rule, or tow away offending vehicles. It is only through severe punitive measures that these people will be forced obey the rules and hopefully learn to be more considerate.
Two days ago, a Cik Sharifah from Jusco Taman Maluri Shopping Centre called in response to my complaint regarding the facilities for disabled people. I did not pick up the phone. She left a voice mail. I called back.
Drivers WLC 5702 and WNY 8347 abusing parking spaces for disabled people at Jusco Taman Maluri.
Photo by Wuan.
I stressed on the need to ensure that the accessible parking are made available only to disabled people and not to every inconsiderate Tom Dick and Harry. At the same time, I questioned her about the purpose of the Priority Cashier Lane at the supermarket when disabled people, senior citizens and pregnant women still have to follow the queue like everyone else.
Jusco Priority Cashier Lane at Kinta City Shopping Centre.
Photo by Wuan.
She did not give a definitive answer to the two issues that I brought up except to say that they will look into it and improve their service to customers. I told her that I will complain again if I still face the same problems the next time I am there.
Update: January 16, 2009
A Cik Aniza from Jusco Taman Maluri called just now regarding the Priority Cashier Lane. Apparently, she is with the store while Cik Sarifah who called earlier is in charge of the shopping centre. Shortly after she called, a staff from AEON careline called to check if anyone contacted me regarding the Priority Cashier Lane matter. In fact, after Cik Sharifah called me the other day, Yvonne from AEON Careline called to check if anyone called me regarding the abuse of accessible parking the next day. Hats off to Jusco and AEON Careline for the response. Now lets hope they will carry through by ensuring the facilities for disabled people are not abused.
Update: January 17, 2009
A Miss Khor from Kinta City Shopping Centre called regarding the accessible parking. She informed me that the shopping centre has allocated 4 accessible car park at Level 2 in the multi-storey car park. I will check it out when I am in Ipoh next week. I am impressed by AEON Careline’s response to the issues I brought up. Miss Yvonne of AEON Careline has been calling to verify if the respective Jusco stores and shopping centres have contacted me. Did I say I am impressed with their customer service? That aside, lets see if my complaints have been addressed the next time I visit them.