Publicado por: Ricardo Shimosakai | 17/04/2013

Disabled people struggle in public facilities. Transportation is essential to tourism.

Transjakarta officers help a wheel chair-bound man debark from a crowded bus at the Matraman busway stop in Central JakartaTransjakarta officers help a wheel chair-bound man debark from a crowded bus at the Matraman busway stop in Central Jakarta

Fifteen people with disabilities took a Transjakarta bus on a Sunday to visit Kota Tua (Old Town), West Jakarta, to find out how far they could get public facilities to fit for them.

“The ramp was very steep and the surface was too slippery so it troubled us to get to a shelter, to buy a Transjakarta ticket,” Cucu Saidah, 38, who works at the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Justice, told The Jakarta Post in her wheelchair.

On their campaign of Barrier Free Tourism (BFT), she and her friends began their journey from Transjakarta’s Tosari shelter in Central Jakarta.

Wheelchaired Faisal Rusdi, 40, said he was disappointed with how Transjakarta staff treated disabled people.

“They only watched us moving our wheelchairs from and to bus shelters and helped us only after we asked them,” he said. “And yet they seemed to have no idea of how to treat or help us, and the way they carried us made us concerned.”

Coordinator of a government-sanctioned task force on child protection, Ilma Sovri Yanti, said the campaign aimed at finding out how friendly public facilities and services to disabled people were.

“Transjakarta is actually a potential transportation means for disabled people because some of the buses already provide special spaces for them and their wheelchairs,” she said. “But its services still need improvement to meet disabled people’s needs.”

Tulus Abadi of the Indonesian Consumer Protection Foundation (YLKI) said the accessibility of public transportation for disabled people remained low in the city, and complaints kept coming in from them especially in regard to Transjakarta and economy-class electric train services and facilities.

He said a few Transjakarta shelters already had elevators to accommodate disabled people, but they did not work well. He said the Gambir train station used to have serrated floors for the visually impaired to get to ticket booths back in 1999, but the floors are nowhere to be found now.

“The city administration must provide better access for disabled people to public transportation. The design of public transportation must also accommodate the needs of all people, including the disabled ones,” Tulus said.

BFT members have so far visited 12 tourist sites, including Ragunan Zoo in South Jakarta and Kota Tua. In the campaign, BFT members have also raised awareness among the public about how to properly treat disabled people.

Source: Jakarta Post

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