D.N.I.S. News Network – In a small but significant step that would allow people with disabilities in the National Capital to use state transport buses without the usual humiliation, low-floor buses have been inducted in the Delhi Transport Corporation fleet.
The announcement came as a pleasant surprise for the disability sector, as the project’s implementation had been in the pipeline and its scheduled implementation kept getting canceled for various reasons for almost a year.
The Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, flagged off these buses on 2 November. Speaking to media persons at Delhi Transport Corporation headquarters, Dikshit said that the buses are being run on an experimental basis and their number will be increased after assessing the feedback from the commuters.
These buses are equipped with an automatic ramp, allowing wheelchair users to move into the bus and safely parked in an area where the wheelchair can be strapped to the rails. These buses also provide faster entry and exit as these have wide-doors.
According to Dr. Geetam Tewari, traffic expert from Traffic Research & Injury Prevention Programme, I.I.T. Delhi, who has been working on the High Capacity Bus project for a few years now, the introduction of the low-floor buses was a necessity as they are high on passenger comfort with just one footboard. This makes it easier for senior citizens and persons with physical disabilities to get on or get off the bus.
A day after the buses were put on Delhi roads, members from Samarthya, an N.G.O. working on access for disabled people, carried out an access audit of these buses and found that the bus has been designed keeping in mind the needs of the disabled people in the city.
Interestingly, the new buses have proved to be good news for the cash-strapped Delhi Transport Corporation as these have started making profit in the very first week of operation.