Sunday, December 25, 2016

MRT not up-to-the-mark for disabled-friendly facilities

MRT stations not designed with the disabled in mind

S Neesha • Dec 24, 2016
Last Updated 25th December, 2016, 10:55 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: Disappointing and sad were the words used by disabled activist Anthony Thanasayan to describe his recent visit to Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) stations along the 21km-long line Sungai Buloh-Semantan line.

Thanasayan and several other wheelchair bound activists from the Independent Living and Training Centre Malaysia (ILTC) made the unannounced trip last Wednesday to see how wheelchair-friendly the country’s newest and latest transportation service was.

“We practically unearthed a very ugly can of worms right from the start, so much so, we thought the whole exercise was going to end before we even started,” said Thanasayan when contacted.

He said that one of the biggest letdown was to find disabled car parks being abused by able-bodied drivers.
“In TTDI (Taman Tun Dr Ismail) station we found three non-disabled cars sandwiched in wheelchair-reserved parking for two vehicles.

“In Sungai Buloh (station) we found more than a dozen non-disabled cars in handicapped slots.

“One was shameless Big Shot’s car complete with an emblem in the front,” lamented the ex-PJ councillor.
He said that another shock was the way the staff in the TTDI MRT station handled the Help Button pillars placed in front of the disabled car parks and lifts.

“Although it (help pillars) was super high tech, clearly the people behind the controls were incompetent in handling and managing it.

“Nobody answered the ringing tones even though we had made as many as 10 calls to them.

“When they finally responded, the voice on the other end seemed confused, rude and apathetic to our calls for help.

“They took a good 10 minutes to get to us even though they were only a few metres from us inside the building.

“The initial treatment they gave us made us feel unwelcome and unwanted to their station as passengers with disabilities,” said Thanasayan.

He added that inside the stations, it was no different, only more “half-baked” efforts to seem disable-friendly.

“We saw one mistake after another. Half-baked!,” said Thanasayan. As an example he mentioned the station floors which are embedded with tact-tiles for the blind to navigate around the stations.

“The trail goes from the outside right to the ticketing place but not where you buy your tickets. That’s on the left, the other side. So I asked them is it free for the blind because the line is going straight to the ticketing part. They said no they will call out to the blind. How absurd is that?

“There is a group of disabled people advising the MOT (Transport Ministry), then how did this happen?

This is very bad.

It is not up to mark.

“If this is the mentality and if they cannot do their homework right, then it just shows that they just don’t care. They think they are not going to be disabled. How could the planners, experts get it so wrong,” said Thanasayan.

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