At access audit of new Kilambakkam bus terminus in Chennai, activists welcome some facilities, offer feedback on others

While welcoming facilities such as the tactile flooring and toilets, activists said the ramps were too steep for those using wheelchairs, there was no Braille signage and the toll-free assistance needed to have video facilities too

Published - September 16, 2023 12:16 pm IST - CHENNAI

A view of the Kilambakkam bus terminus

A view of the Kilambakkam bus terminus | Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ B

The Kilambakkam bus terminus, on GST Road, has received a bouquet of positive and negative feedback from disability rights activists who visited it on Friday. 

The activists, representing five non-governmental organisations (NGOs), were on a joint inspection of the newly-constructed bus terminus for an access audit, to find out if the terminus had an accessible environment, with barrier free structures for persons with disabilities, as well as the allotment of 5% of the shops in it for persons with disabilities. The audit of the bus terminus, which is being constructed by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), was based on directions issued by the Director for Welfare of the Differently Abled after representations were given by the NGOs.

The activists, along with persons with visual and locomotor disabilities, said that the ramps at the terminus were very steep, there were no Braille boards to assist people to board the correct buses, and the facilities at the toilets were not disabled-friendly.

Sujatha, an office-bearer of non-profit organisation Better World Shelter, said the bus terminus had a very nice appearance, but there were a few issues with regard to access, such as the tactile flooring. Ms. Sujatha, who was accompanying persons with visual and locomotor disabilities, in order to get a first-hand experience of the bus terminus said the installation of tactile flooring was welcome, but it abruptly ended at certain places, making it hard for those with visual impairment to get to lifts and waiting rooms. She also pointed out that the non-availability of Braille signage would make it challenging to access the proper bus bays.

Jhansi Rani, representing the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARADTAC), said the most positive feature of the bus terminus was the exclusive toilet facilities for men, women and transgender persons, which, she said, she had not seen elsewhere. However, the ramp for wheelchair users was so wide and steep that they could find it difficult to access. She also pointed out that tactile flooring was available only on the ground floor. Ms. Rani wanted the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to provide a dormitory exclusively for persons with disabilities, and also highlighted the need to provide toll-free assistance with video call facilities.   

Vaishnavi Jayakumar of the Disability Rights Alliance (DRA), during the inspection of the terminus, said the flooring, of polished granite, could be slippery for persons with disabilities and said it needed to be flame finished flooring. While welcoming the construction of toilets for those with disabilities, she said the toilet should have been built in such as way as to allow bi-lateral transfer of wheelchairs.  

Senior officials of CMDA had earlier said that the Kilambakkam bus terminus was being constructed with features covering accessibility norms under the ‘Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for Persons with Disabilities and Elderly Persons.’ Unlike the bus terminus in Koyambedu (CMBT), the Kilambakkam bus terminus has been constructed with wheelchair accessibility, tactile flooring, and designated accessible toilets along with ticket counters as per the accessibility guidelines.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.