On March 7, scores of people living with disabilities boarded the BRT buses at RTJ Namane Drive to test their readiness to accommodate wheelchair-bound, blind and deaf passengers.
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According to City of Ekurhuleni spokesperson Themba Gadebe, the buses are comfortable, safe and reliable.
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“This is what characterises the BRT buses and the dedicated routes of the first phase of the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN),” said Gadebe.
“The Universal Design Access Plan (Udap), stipulates guidelines and principles on how to cater for people living with disabilities by considering factors such as equal access for people with various conditions and disabilities, flexibility, simplicity, effective communication, the need to use minimal effort when accessing buses and if the space and size are suitable,” he further added.
The member of the mayoral committee for transport and planning, councillor Petrus Mabunda, led the demonstration and feedback session that followed in accordance with the Universal Design Access Plan (Udap).
Zanele Zwane is wheelchair-bound and expressed relief upon managing to get on the BRT bus with ease.
“For me it has always been a challenge to use public transport as I dreaded having to ask people to assist me to get into a taxi or a bus. These buses now will bring so much relief to me and many other people living with different types of disabilities because they are easily accessible and convenient,” an elated Zwane stated.
The city’s IRPTN makes provision for the Non-Motorised Transportation Plan. This plan intends to guide the efforts to improve the safety of cyclists and the walking conditions for people with disabilities Gadebe further pointed out.