At a time when thousands of people across the globe, are joining in the Twitter wave of #ThingsDisabledPeopleKnow to talk about various issues of accessibility and general perceptions around disability, India has made a positive move.
In a bid to address issues of accessibility in public spaces, the Delhi government is set to introduce a disabled-friendly bus which will have three doors for entry and exit of passengers instead of the usual two.
As per the plan, in the pilot phase of the initiative, a total of 25 state-run public buses will be rolled out from the end of March. These will be among the total lot of 1,000 such buses that will hit the city streets by October.
A total of 4,000 new buses have been planned for the city, inclusive of these 1,000 disabled-friendly ones.
This move to increase the number of city buses comes after eight years. Currently, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) has a fleet of 5,443 public buses on the streets as opposed to the requirement of at least 11,000.
However, of these, only 3,750 are disabled-friendly with low-floor CNG vehicles.
A first of its kind decision, it was taken keeping in mind the existing lacunae of disabled-friendly infrastructure in the capital city.
“The new variant of buses will have three doors – one in the front, one in the middle and another in the rear. The other type of buses that we approved today was the normal cluster bus with hydraulic lifts fitted for easy access to wheelchair-bound passengers,” Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot told the Hindustan Times.
The meeting on Monday finalised two prototypes of disabled-friendly standard-floor buses. Their two-year-plan to roll out 1,000 standard-floor buses was facing a delay due to technical issues. It was because, unlike low-floor buses which provide easy access to wheelchair-bound passengers and elderly citizens, those with standard-floor levels had a higher ground clearance, thus making them inaccessible.
However, an alternative solution has finally arrived with the instalments of hydraulic lifts.
“During the test of the standard-floor buses fitted with hydraulic lifts, it took about one minute for the lift to come out of the door and put a wheelchair-bound passenger into the bus. These buses will have additional space for the differently-abled to park their wheelchairs,” an anonymous official told HT.
These buses have also now been properly tested by the transport department.
According to the design, each bus will have hydraulic lifts, with the capacity to hold up to 300 kilograms of weight. Also, all the buses will have GPS trackers, CCTV cameras and panic buttons, the publication stated.
This can be seen as a positive beginning for a truly accessible India!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)