Public transport still inaccessible to disabled

Sam Wong

Modified 22 Oct 2009, 7:40 am

Last week, I was involved in the access audit program for public transportation around Klang Valley. The purpose of the access audit is to explore whether the public transports are accessible to everyone, especially the disabled people.

Three stations were chosen, namely KL Sentral, Masjid Jamek LRT station and the Kepong KTM station.

The three stations were found difficult to access, especially for disabled people, the elderly and foreigners.

For blind people, there are no tactile blocks on the floor inside the building. Perhaps, there were tactile blocks outside building, but it was not built accordingly.

In addition, there were no Braille dots on the handrail and information board. These will cause them problems when not travelling with a caretaker. Most importantly, the announcement does not show clearly the directions, thus they cannot find their way.

On the other hand, the ramp is not built according to standards for wheelchair users, some ramps are too steep and some ramps are too long. Gaps are found in between the platform; and the ramp is not built at the entrance but at the corner like the one in Masjid Jamek LRT station.

When looking for toilets, there is no clear signage. In fact, the cleaner takes the opportunity to rest and store their things in the disabled toilet units, and the wheelchair users cannot use the toilets.

For deaf and dumb users, the stations' signage is not useful. The colour used for the signage is too dim for them to see them properly.

The other problem we found is that the staircases are not painted with contrasting colours and do not have handrails. This is a disservice to the elderly and disabled.

Foreigners will find the signage unhelpful and confusing. For instance, it is hard to understand how to make the switch from the LRT to monorails.

Most importantly, the able bodied often make unacceptable use of the disabled facilities. They take toilets and parking spaces allocated for the disabled and prevent the truly deserving from using them.