Bus fares: Fully exempt the disabled
Anthony Siva Balan Thanasayan| Feb 11, 08 3.32pm
Petpositive is relieved and happy that Rapid KL and Rapid Penang have both decided to accept identification cards for disabled citizens issued by the Social Welfare Department in order for them to qualify for discounted bus fares.
We are especially delighted that the elderly can also have access to discounted rates for their travel by producing their MyKads as announced by Second Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcop last week.
The move to accept the government-issued ID cards will now make life for the handicapped much easier and more sensible. This will create even more incentive now for those who have not registered as disabled to do so in order for them to enjoy discounted bus fares.
Having said that however, we are puzzled as to why the handicapped are being charged at all for using Rapid’s services.
This when you consider the fact that the disabled are currently given full discounts when they apply for road tax, international passports and public hospital treatment all upon just producing their disabled ID cards.
Furthermore, it seems highly improper to us that after having been denied access to public buses for over half a century because of society’s neglect, we should even think of slapping the disabled with fees overnight.
Another compelling reason why Rapid should not charge the disabled for now is because its current buses equipped for wheelchairs are not fully disabled-friendly. They are also dangerous to the user as well.
There are various types of buses available today -which are much more disabled user-friendly and safe for handicapped and elderly passengers. RapidKL and Rapid Penang should make these buses available to us instead.
Only until Rapid can get all of this right and when the disabled are on par with the rest of our citizens in terms of rights and equal access, should the bus company start to charge the handicapped.
The writer is president, Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association (Petpositive).