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

Relates to Convention Article:

  • No.9, Accessibility

In detail

Brief explanation of the question

Article 9 of CRPD prescribes that in order “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 transportation, both in urban and in rural areas’’ . The Convention further calls for appropriate measures “to provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities…”

The question refers generally to “all urban public transports” to intentionally ask about the whole urban transportation system, including both the vehicle itself but also the related built environment and information and communication services and facilities. In the interests of clarity and focus, it should be accepted that the question is intentionally restricted to the (typically better) transportation situation in larger cities. Accessibility options for the vision impaired and persons with mental disabilities were also specifically included in the question, as well as the importance of training for stakeholders on accessibility issues.

Summary of results

The map shows at a first glance that there is a huge number of red traffic lights when it comes to the accessibility of the urban transport system. This is a quite worrying picture if we consider access to the physical environment and public transport as a pre-condition for freedom of movement for persons with disabilities (please refer to the draft Comment on Art. 9 – Issued in 2013 by the UN CRPD Committee). As a consequence people with disabilities are prevented from enjoying some of their basic rights, like the right to seek employment or the right to health care without accessible transports and built environment.
In terms of quantitative results the situation is particularly dramatic as not a clear green traffic light was given.
The additional comments remark that most public transport is accessible only for people with physical disabilities. Other comments state that accessible buses exist mostly in the capital city or in the biggest cities in the country and less in the near villages. Therefore the situation is not only critical in the less developed countries but also in the rural areas in different parts of the world.
Another critical factor mentioned by commentators: many accessibility solutions have to be activated by a third person, so that devices usually cannot be used independently (Norway, Finland,
Australia, Russia or South Africa).
Other comments deplore a lack of training of transport operators which often leads to situations of discrimination and harassment (especially by bus drivers refusing to take persons with disabilities on board).
In the most developed countries normally door-to door private services are provided and are filling the gaps of the public transportation but they lack of flexibility in comparison to the public transport system; furthermore those services are not affordable to all as only in few countries these services are provided by the government.

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