News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
1 minute read
8 Dec 2017
6:30 am

Tshwane buses go the extra mile

Virginia Keppler

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga got in a wheelchair and manoeuvred himself on and off a A Re Yeng bus yesterday to demonstrate the universal access to the city’s bus service in Pretoria.

Tshwane Mayor, Solly Msimanga is seen riding in a wheelchair during a tour of the A Re Yeng bus service's disabilty capabilties, 7 December 2017, the mayor and other Thswane staff were required to experience the services as disabled people would, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Member of the mayoral committee for transport and roads Sheila Senkubuge and her Johannesburg counterpart, Nonhlanhla Makhuba, wore glasses that obstructed their vision to simulate the experience of blind people or those with poor vision on a bus.

Blue Bulls rugby players Gerhard Steenkamp and Ruan Steenkamp joined Msimanga in wheelchairs to test if the bus was as accessible as he claimed. On a short ride from Hatfield to Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Msimanga said that universal access means that the city’s buses caters for pregnant women, senior citizens, people with disabilities, people who do not speak a local language and those travelling with children or with luggage.

“When I was in Taiwan I saw that nobody sat in the priority seats. It is an attitude thing. People without disabilities should not occupy these seats,” he added.

Guy Davis, an expert on universal access, said: “The design of a bus is very important to ensure it can accommodate someone in a wheelchair, a parent pushing a stroller or an old person who has difficulty getting onto the bus. These people must also travel safely and comfortably.

“It must be done because the constitution requires it, as does a UN resolution on the rights of persons with disabilities,” he added.

Senkubuge said this showed the city was striving for international standards regarding what it needs to do to ensure great quality of life for the entire population of the municipality.

– virginiak@citizen.co.za

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