Thursday, September 13, 2007

Public Transport to become more disabled-friendly

By Celeste Ganga
13 September 2007

The South African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC) and the South African National Taxi Association (Santaco), has promised to continue to revamp all its rail networks to ensure that they are all disabled friendly.

“The Total Service concept requires the public transport system to be accessible to any independent traveller,” says Enos Ngutshane from the SARCC.

The “Total Service “concept is whereby each passenger is provided with all components that they require to make their journey with ease of access, comfort and dignity.

“This Total Service could be achieved within the commuter rail system through providing fully accessible station facilities as well as level access to rolling stock,” says Ngutshane.

This will be supported by appropriately trained assistance from the station operator, and the availability and accessible active and passive communication and information systems, and materials.

“We admit that the taxis were not user friendly to disabled persons,” says General Secretary of Santaco, Phillip Taibos.

Taibos adds that the association had also received numerous complaints and concerns from people with disabilities.

“I acknowledge the fact that taxi drivers had not been trained on how to deal with disabilities. People using wheelchairs are the main challenge.” says Taibos.

Taibos explains that most of the vehicles that were user -friendly were currently very expensive.

Even though the members of the committee welcomed the presentation with excitement, some of them said it was saddening that the policy only came 13 years after South Africa’s democracy.


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