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Monday, 06 June 2016 19:54

Public transportation woefully inadequate for disabled

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Public Transportation does not properly accommodate the differently-abled in society and PTSC buses, maxi taxis and the water taxi pose more challenges for such persons.

Those were some of the issues raised at Monday's Joint Select Committee Meeting Parliament on Human Rights.

A question raised by Member Glenda Jennings-Smith during a Joint Select Committee hearing on Human Rights, Equality and Diversity about the Dial-a-Ride initiative opened up a discussion about the barriers differently-abled persons are confronted with when using public transportation.

Sharda Ramlakhan, the Trustee of the Consortium of Disability Organizations (CODO), said there are physical, attitudinal and institutional blocks to the inclusion.

She said traveling by the PTSC bus service and water taxi does not promote equality and independence.

"It's not an inclusive service to begin with. It does not promote inclusion of persons with disabilities. It treats persons with disabilities as objects as opposed to subjects and that is a grave concern and it is a human rights issue. Likewise, the Water Taxi Service has taken the same approach recently."

Ms. Ramlakhan added that the maxi taxis could have been adapted to facilitate wheelchair access.

"I understand that concessions were given to the Maxi Taxi Associations when it came to converting their maxi taxis using the CNG fuel. Disability could have been added into that had we been consulted. It would have been easy because the buses are going to be redesigned."

CODO President Bhawani Persad said bus stops and maxi taxi terminals, City Gate in particular, create obstacles.

"If you walk down to City Gate now and you have to go for a maxi, even if you are using two crutches, it borders on ridiculousness because if you don't go up the steps and get around and if you have to walk through the yard between all the maxis, that in itself creates its own problems. So I think we need to begin at home to put things in place so that we begin to create an impression to start with, that look, we want to make changes that will see an inclusive society."

JSC Chairman Dr. Nyan Gadbsy-Dolly said the Government is actively seeking to align its policies and programmes to match the goals laid out in a United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified by Trinidad and Tobago in June 2015.

Read 333 times Last modified on Tuesday, 21 June 2016 09:17
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