Differently-abled commuters are unable to use BMTC and KSRTC buses. Buses do not have proper facilities for them.
The facilities provided by the government for the disabled people in Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) l like wheelchairs, ramps, reserved seats in buses, remain unused. The differently-abled commuters say that it is difficult for them to use these facilities.
Mohd. Rafiq, a differently-abled person said, “I do not use BMTC and KSRTC buses for traveling as I feel uncomfortable to board the bus. The ramps provided by the government are highly elevated so we cannot use it by ourselves. I rather prefer my own vehicle or metro.”
The softcopy found that in some KSTRC and BTMC buses there are no reserved seats for the disabled and the ramps at bus stations are rusted or covered with the layer of dust.
The Office of the state commissioner for persons with disabilities said that two seats are reserved for persons with disabilities in all the Government road transport buses in Karnataka.
“It is inconvenient to use public transports as people do not have patience to let us board the bus. We have a risk of falling down and somehow if we board the bus the reserved seats are occupied by the other people and in some buses, they do not even have reserved seats for us,” said Manjunath S, a blind person.
The Karnataka state policy of disability also mentions the objectives of PWD Act 1995where the state is required to provide economic opportunities, barrier-free environment and supporting services provided by the state.
The State Government has issued bus passes at concessional rates to 1,00,000 disabled persons during this year. KSRTC and BMTC have been requested to provide barrier-free features.
Pratap KS, KSRTC bus conductor said, “Although we have the facilities of ramps and wheelchairs but disabled people usually do not use the bus ramps since they are highly elevated. They rather prefer trains and metro as seats of the buses are uncomfortable for them.”
Kartik, a shop owner at Mysore road satellite bus station said, “My shop is here from past 6 years but I have not seen anyone using ramps or wheelchair to board the bus.”
KSRTC and BMTC buses have provided 153 and 818 buses respectively to permit easy access to persons with disabilities states the Office of the state commissioner for persons with disabilities.
Deepak N, Public Relations Officer of BMTC said, “We are trying to implement more facilities for the disabled people. One of them is foldable ramps which can be used at any bus stop and the other is installing LED boards with announcements.”
“The Supreme Court directed all the states to make government-run buses disabled-friendly. For that, we have approached a Chennai based firm for construction of the foldable ramps and wheelchair which cost them Rs 95,000 but now we are manufacturing the same ramp at Rs. 35,000 in our small workshop,” says a KSRTC official.
Kukko Khare, Manager of Dr. Reddy’s Foundation, training centre for disabled people said, “All the buses should be disabled-friendly but actually they are not. BMTC and KSRTC buses should have seats with a good amount of leg space and buses should have no barriers near the gates. Government should be systematic and disabled people should also be aware of the facilities provided to them.”