|Most of the 15 people with disabilities who were taken to see a model of a metro coach at an upcoming depot in District 9's Binh Long Ward yesterday . — Photo khampha
HCM CITY (VNS) — People with disabilities in HCM City have called for making the city's metro trains disabled-friendly when they become operational in a few years' time.
Most of the 15 people with disabilities who were taken to see a model of a metro coach at an upcoming depot in District 9's Binh Long Ward yesterday by the Disability Resource and Development Centre (DRD) agreed that it needed modifications to improve access for disabled people.
They feared that the metro would be similar to the current bus system, which is hardly disabled-friendly.
Lieu Thi Ngoc Hieu, who has used the metro in Japan and found it very disabled-friendly, said she was surprised the coach was not since it had been supplied by a Japanese company.
"I appreciate the city government for collecting opinions from the public. However, the metro in Japan is very accessible and friendly to disabled people. I think the metro in Viet Nam should be the same.
"I don't see seat belts and a wheelchair locking system for disabled persons like me.
"Beside the facilities, I saw that the metro staff in Japan were very helpful to disabled passengers. I think the HCM City metro staff should be trained like that."
Phan Thi Rat, 25, concurred with Hieu about the need for seat belts and wheelchair locks, and said there should be some signal to inform the driver and other passengers that there was a disabled person in the coach.
Dinh Cong Luat, 25, who is blind, said there were no raised indications on the coach floor and other places to show blind people the way.
There should also be signs for hearing-impaired passengers, he said.
The disabled visitors were also worried about access to the 14 stations on the first metro line between Ben Thanh and Suoi Tien in District 9.
Disabled people in HCM City have very little chance to use the existing public transport system. Hieu, who works for the centre, claimed that only two of the city's 3, 250 buses are accessible by wheelchair.
The centre will continue to gather opinions from the disabled people and send them to the city administration and metro management.
Duong Huu Hoa, deputy director of the Ben Thanh - Suoi Tien Metro Project Management Unit, said access for disabled people would be a mandatory feature of the metro.
"Because this is only a model. The actual coaches will be accessible to disabled people like in Japan."
The 19.7km metro line will undergo trials in 2019 and become operational in 2020. — VNS