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Updated: December 17, 2013 10:48 IST

Steep steps in Chennai mini buses trouble the elderly, disabled

Deepa H. Ramakrishnan
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Commuters and activists say the elderly have to struggle to get into the buses — Photo: M. Karunakaran
Commuters and activists say the elderly have to struggle to get into the buses — Photo: M. Karunakaran

Activists also noted that the aisles of the mini buses were quite narrow

Meenakshiammal, at 70, remains very active. She travels frequently to her sons’ houses in the suburbs. Recently she took a mini bus from Nanganallur to Butt Road, but with her bent frame, found it extremely difficult to climb the steep steps into the bus.

“I have knee pain and I cannot climb up very fast,” she said as she sat herself on a seat. 

Though mini buses have come as a boon for areas that are not connected with MTC buses or share autorickshaws, the elderly and persons with disabilities do have a problem entering the buses. Sumathi from Kakkan Colony however said that the situation was salvaged by the fact that the crew of these buses always waited till the elderly, women and children got in. 

S. Namburajan, State secretary of Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers, said that the aisle was narrow too“The bus is a no-no for people travelling by wheelchair. Already, the State transport Corporation buses are charging tickets from the disabled for wheelchairs,” he said. 

Smitha Sadasivan, member of the Disability Rights Alliance noted that the Metropolitan Transport Corporation had not consulted the disabled or activists or experts while designing the buses. “Even regular MTC buses are not accessible to persons with disabilities; it’s a struggle to get into such buses. Recently, someone who used crutches was unable to get a seat after getting into one such bus,” she said. This is despite the fact that a seat is reserved for the disabled in the bus.

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There have been many articles in the past about how our city buses are
unfriendly to the differently abled and senior citizens.That the problem
still remains unresolved is reflected in this article. MTC has never
engaged with public for any thing from augmenting services to complaints
resolution to designing senior-citizen friendly buses etc. MTC's
objective is to cut costs at the expense of facilities.Wait till the
next round of JNNURM funding comes and then see if any improvements are
made.If no, then it is a scam.

from:  Sekhar
Posted on: Dec 17, 2013 at 16:38 IST
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