The government has issued a notification providing more seats for the elderly on stage carriers plying in the State.

Ten per cent of the seats, excluding those for the driver and the conductor, have been set apart for the elderly on ordinary and limited stop ordinary stage carriers. On the remaining carriers, except on services having online reservation facility, five per cent of the seats have been earmarked for the elderly.

An official notification issued by the government said elderly men and women would equally share the 10 per cent of the seats set apart for them on the ordinary and the limited stop ordinary stage carriers. The rule has come into force.

The seats allocated for elderly women are near the seats allotted to women commuters on the stage carriers. In the absence of elderly women, these seats should be allotted to other women.

The decision to amend the rules was taken in the wake of a request made by the National Senior Citizens Movement to reserve a certain number of seats for the elderly on the stage carriers. The government has amended the Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules. The amendments have been incorporated in sub-rule (9) of rule 269 of the Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules.

Seats are reserved for the physically and the visually challenged and women on the stage carriers in the State. Officials of the Motor Vehicles Department said they had started enforcing the reservation of seats for the elderly by insisting on signs as in the case of women.

Welcoming the decision, Senior Citizens Association, Thiruvananthapuram, president K.V. Rajappan Nair said the public should be made senior-citizen friendly so that the elderly get the benefit of allocation of more seats for them on the stage carriers. “The other commuters are not friendly towards us, and we have to seek the help of the conductors. They often turn a blind eye to our plight,” he said.

Mr. Nair said the stage carriers were yet to become senior-citizen friendly as in the developed countries. The height of the footboard was a major problem. The association had petitioned the authorities seeking steps to reduce the height of the footboard. The introduction of low-floor buses in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi was a big relief to them, he said.