Weekes: Make public buses disabled friendly

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The disabled community is appealing to the authorities to do all that is possible to make it easier for them to get around on public transportation.

President of Wheelchair Foundation of Barbados Inc Lionel Weekes said this morning it was time that the public transportation system was equipped to accommodate the physically disabled.

“We would like the private sector as well as the Transport Board to look at the provision of a number of buses which are developed specifically to deal with the needs of the disabled where they can get on board and disembark very easily,” Weekes said at a presentation ceremony at which his organization received a cash donation from the Massy Foundation.

The foundation provides wheelchairs and other assistance, including prostheses, to help disabled and needy people move about, it said on its Facebook page.

Weekes explained that the lack of adequately equipped buses was proving costly for members of the community, who sometimes have to dish out as much as $50 to go on an errand.

“Now when you consider that the average person has to pay $2 for a ride but this disabled person in order to be able to attend this activity has to pay that amount and in many cases they are not working so the whole question of affordability of public transportation arises,” he said.

“A nation that is aspiring to be advanced and so on has to look at these social and developmental dimensions of what they are attempting to do in the country,” Weekes added.

Meantime, Keith Yearwood, the foundation’s public relations officer, said he was hoping Prime Minister Mia Mottley would keep her pledge to fully equip new Transport Board buses so they can accommodate the physically disabled.

“ One thing I heard the Prime Minister [say] is that when they import these buses that they would be equipped for wheelchairs and we would be very happy about that because it is something that we have been championing,” Yearwood said, adding that members of the disabled need not be prisoners in their own homes.

“ We need to get those persons out there, out of the confines of the walls of their house and into the community to really enjoy Barbados. So that is why we are working assiduously so that all of the persons who are shut in can come out and really enjoy Barbados once more,” he stressed.

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