Public Transport Goes The D-Friendly Way
Government initiatives at making public transport affordable and adequate to the needs of disabled persons.
Disabled students have to, very often; face the inadequacy of transport and travel facilities, little empathy on the part of co-travellers, lack of information and many general problems due to the absence of a disabled friendly atmosphere. Transportation to and from school; travel in and around school buildings; specialized equipment, such as special contraptions on buses, lifts and ramps in buildings need to be put in order.
Each person's needs are a little different. But that doesn't mean, their disability - whether short term or permanent - may stop them from getting higher education. Arranging travel for the visually or hearing impaired students, or those who have limited physical capabilities can be a difficult task. Students with disabilities need to be integrated into the mainstream. The Central and the State Government have provided some facilities so that people with special needs have access to public transport and facilities.
Accessible Delhi University
The students living in New Delhi can also avail the facilities provided by the New Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (D.M.R.C.).Now they can reach schools, colleges and universities with much convenience. The metro system is not only designed in modern and aesthetic way but it is also easily accessible for the students with physical challenges Apart from being modern and aesthetic, D.M.R.C has done a unique job of constructing an overhead ramp for the convenience of the physically challenged. The disabled students are no more needed to use foot over bridges or subways while going to schools and colleges.
Some specific facilities for disabled commuters are:
- Indication of floors on lifts is labelled in Braille.
- Control buttons of elevators are positioned at appropriate heights for the wheel chair users.
- Grip rails on the sidewalls of the elevator car.
- Wide doors of lifts.
- Every station entrance has a ramp.
- The start and end of every ramp have adequate landing space.
- Some employment reservations for the physically challenged.
- Toilets are easily accessible on every floor.
- Handrails inside toilets.
- Corridors have proper lightening system for the convenience of visually impaired.
- Ticket gate exclusively for disabled passengers.
- Common passages have tactile tiles.
- To warn of the abrupt change in height or near hazardous areas, tactile warning signs are present.
- Audible warnings are given when needed.
- For providing assistance Metro Sahayks or Helpers remain present at the stations.
The metro rail system also offers tours from time to time so that the users get acquainted with it easily.
DTC’s (Delhi Transport Corporation) and BEST have introduced low-floor buses which have been provided with disabled-friendly features. These low floor buses have the floor height of around 400mm so that the students on wheelchair can easily board them.
Keeping in view the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995, the Indian Railways has also arranged for special provisions. The following concessions have keep offered to persons with disabilities keeping in view their special needs. Persons with blindness, mental retardation or orthopedically handicapped persons get a concession of 75% whether travelling alone or with an escort in First Class, Second Class or Sleeper and 50% concession in AC 2 Tier or AC Class. In case of seasoned tickets they are given a concession of 50%. Apart from this following details are also significant:
- Standard Ramps
- Earmarking lots
- Non slippery passages
- Accessible water taps
- 'May I Help Booths'
1200 coaches are specially designed which are known as SLRs or disabled friendly coaches to provide an easy accessibility to the persons with disabilities. 46 stations now have inter-platform transfer facility.
Blind persons are given a 50% concession on airfare. It applies to a single journey or single fare for round trip journey on all domestic flights by the Indian Airlines Corporation, on producing a certificate from a medical practitioner. If visually impaired persons do not have an escort, then the Air Hostess or Flight Steward is supposed to look after them. Persons with locomotor disability (80% and above) are also given 50% concession in the normal Economy Class by the Indian Airlines. Apart from this, the Central Government Employees are granted transport allowance to compensate for the expenses incurred on account of commuting between the place of residence and the place of their work.
Now it is only a matter of time that the facilities which are available in metros and big cities will also be available countrywide. A disabled friendly transport system is essential to make educational institutions universally accessible. Safety and service are the watchwords of a transport system developed keeping in mind the needs of those who face challenges, offering services comfortable expense.