Differently-abled struggling with public transport

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KARACHI:

Even though public transport options have increased in the port city after the launch of the Peoples Bus Service, differently-abled individuals are still having a hard time accessing such options.

For instance, Talha, who uses public transport daily to commute from Malir to Shaheen Complex for his job, often has to wait for public buses which are not crowded or where the assigned seats for differently abled individuals are not taken before he can board a bus. “It is quite infuriating to see that seats which are specifically allocated for people like me are generally occupied and passengers who occupy them will pay no heed to my disability,” lamented Talha, who became an amputee a few years back after a car accident.

“Bus drivers do not assist either. They will just shake their heads when it is pointed out that the reserved seats for people with a handicap are being misused.”

 

Imran Khan, who boards the Peoples Bus Service from Korangi every day, can relate to Talha’s plight. “Even when people can see that I have a handicap, they will not get up from the reserved seats. Therefore I often have to make my daily commute from Korangi to Saddar whilst standing,” regretted Khan, further adding that the bus staff completely ignores his predicament.

“It is extremely insensitive that despite the fact that I am missing a leg, neither the general public nor the operators of the Peoples Bus Service will show any sympathy and just turn a blind eye towards an obvious problem,” he said.

“If petrol was not so expensive, I would prefer to ride my three-wheeled bike. At least I can travel with dignity on it.”

Abdul Razzaq, a local, who regularly travels on Route 9 from Saddar to Gulshan-e-Hadeed, has personally witnessed the plight of differently abled individuals like Talha and Khan in the People’s Bus Service. “About two weeks ago, a visually impaired individual boarded the bus from the Natha Khan stop and everyone on the bus could tell he had a handicap. However, the passengers who were sitting on the reserved seats did not even budge,” recalled Razzaq.

In light of the revelations made by Talha, Khan, and Razzaq, vis-a-vis the treatment of differently abled individuals, Daily City News reached out to Asad Zaman, the Secretary for the Transport and Mass Transit Department, to inquire about the plight of differently abled individuals on the People’s Bus Service and the insensitivity of operating staff. “I will investigate the matter and give directions to fix it immediately,” assured Zaman while talking to Daily City News

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