BMRCL says washrooms are locked because the general public misuses them.
Namma Metro has toilets for the differently abled, but they are locked and inaccessible at most metro stations. These include Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Metro Station, Majestic, Jayanagar, Mysore Road, Trinity, Vijayanagar, Krishna Rajendra Market, National College, and more.
Dilip Kumar, who uses a wheelchair and frequently travels by metro, said he has to wait for five to 10 minutes for the station control board officer to come and unlock the washroom. He said the washrooms for persons with disabilities (PwDs) in the metro lack proper lighting and maintenance.
However, a platform guard at the National College metro station said the washrooms for the PwDs are locked because they are not being used. She said they lack maintenance and have no water facilities, so the PwDs have to use the washrooms for men and women.
The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act states every establishment in the transport sector should take special measures to adapt toilets in rail compartments to permit wheelchair users to use them conveniently.
While Kumar has never had to use the washroom for men, he said the PwD washrooms lack hand support railings and “no proper training is given to the security guards to help persons with disabilities.”
This contrasts with Namma Metro’s claims to provide: “accessible washrooms (if any) a. Low height washbasin b. Accessible unisex cubicle with wc, grab rails, etc.” to the differently abled.
T. L. Ravi Prakash, Senior Manager at Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), said, “The washrooms are locked because when they are kept open, anyone will come and use them if men’s and women’s washroom is occupied, making them dirty.”
He said the restrooms for the differently-abled in the metro are used less. He added that, despite this, “the washrooms are being cleaned and maintained regularly. They are unlocked by the station control board officials when a PwD comes to use them.”
The Assistant Manager of Operations at BMRCL also said the washrooms are locked because they are being used less. He said when a PwD comes, they are assisted and the washrooms are unlocked for their use.
N V Ranganatha, a Training Coordinator at Action on Disability and Development India, said, “If our society has people with disabilities, the duty of respective authorities is to keep everything accessible to them like lifts and toilets.” He said it is their primary duty to “keep the toilets open for PwDs, whether they are using it or not.”