Are all urban public transports (bus, metro, tram, train) accessible to all persons with disabilities?

Explanation

Any exceptions qualify for ‘Yes – with Qualifications’. Accessibility must, however, include both blind persons and those persons with mental or intellectual disabilities. A very important issue here is that drivers (especially bus drivers) are both trained, and obliged personally, to help, if required, a person with disabilities. Wheelchair users should be able to enter and leave buses without assistance. If ‘Yes – with Qualifications’, please indicate why. If “Yes” please describe any significant differences between the legal situation and the reality of everyday life. 

In detail

Summary

Almost 50% of respondents asserted public transport in their countries is not accessible to all persons with disabilities while only a mere 2.9% agreeing public transport is fully accessible. Generally, it is only partially accessible, or accessible to persons with certain disabilities, mainly wheelchair users. The main barriers observed in contributing to ensuring fully accessible public transport were:

  • Lack of staff training combined with the inability to use public transport autonomously was reported to be a major obstacle in making public transport accessible mainly in Europe and Asia.
  • Partial accessibility: certain features supporting the accessibility of public transport are underutilised or misused such as no scooter access, reserved seats but no ramp access, timetable restrictions, lack of vehicles adapted to people with disabilities, or overcrowding problems, commonly reported by respondents from South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The efforts made to make transport accessible are mainly focused on physical disabilities
  • The availability of accessible transports is drastically different between urban and rural regions, the latter suffering from a lack of accessible infrastructure in most countries.
Comments

The Road Transport Authority has no indicator or criteria in their exam system to know the knowledge on disability of the drivers. And there is no inclusive training curriculum for the drivers from the government. BRTA, Bangladesh Railway, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority BIWTA has no planning to provide transport services of the urban persons  with disabilities.” (Salma Mahbub- Protibonhi Nagarik Shangathaner Parishad (PNSP)- Bangladesh)

“[…]Lahore has recently launched a new BRT system that is completely accessible with tactile surfacing, braille signage, ramps and spaces allocated for wheelchair users, and LCD screens for people with hearing impairments. The same system is to be introduced in 2015 to the cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad.[…]” (Reem Khurshid, Network of Organizations Working with People with Disabilities, Pakistan)

“The fact that people with disabilities cannot independently access vehicles and public transport infrastructure according to their choice is a major obstacle in relation to their mobility.” (Olivier Magritte, Belgian Disability Forum (BDF), Secrétariat, Belgium)

CRPD Article

Article 9- Accessibility

“1. To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia:

a) Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces;

b) Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.

2. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures:

a) To develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;

b) To ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities;

c) To provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities;

d) To provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms;

e) To provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public;

f) To promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information;

g) To promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;

h) To promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.”

(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)