Buses And The Disabled
Sir, - I was glad to hear that Dublin Bus is to get 100 new buses, given the large swathes of city road that are being turned over to bus-lanes. I was also happy to see an increase in public subsidy to city transport, which at present has a lower rate of subsidy than transport in other comparable European cities.
However, as a former rapporteur of the Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities' working group on transport, and as the parent of a daughter with severe disabilities. I am concerned that the new buses may not be accessible to wheelchair users. Buses have a long and venerable life-span and what is ordered today will probably be trundling around in the year 2020.
The Commission On the Status of People with Disabilities' report A Strategy for Equality (which was accepted by the Government in 1996) recommends that "all new and used rail rolling stock and road vehicles ordered for public transport (included those ordered by public operators) from January 1st 1997 should be accessible to all users." Such accessibility is essential if disabled people are to have equal opportunities in employment and leisure. The traffic problems in Dublin make it increasingly difficult for even those of us with adapted vehicles to use them, so it is crucial that new transport systems are accessible to all (including wheelchair users). With a booming economy we have the opportunity to improve our environment in a way that disadvantages no-one. I would like to ask all groups who are pressing for better public transport to include wheelchair accessibility in their brief. - Yours, etc., Mair Ide Woods,
Del Val Avenue,