BMTC, which is part of the Accessible India Campaign, is not able to provide accessibility to a varied range of physically-challenged people in Bangalore. With 30 lakh disabled people in the state of Karnataka, the public buses are still inaccessible to them.
Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses in the city are not accessible for differently-abled people. Only 4 out of 22 bus stations have ramps and customized wheelchairs for physically-challenged people. This makes it very difficult for them to board buses during peak hours. Anusha, who teaches Kannada in SIS school, hustles daily to board BMTC buses. She said, “Wheelchair(s) don’t go inside; the steps are very heightened and the width of the doors is very small. No one helps people with disabilities when it is crowded, it is very difficult for us to board in pick hours because of the crowd. Two seats are reserved for physically disabled people but that is also occupied by the general public; moreover, we cannot shift to different seats. No space is there for my wheelchair inside the bus.” Differently-abled people not only need proper infrastructure but also, good accessibility to use public transport.
Government data suggest that there are about 30 lakh people with disabilities in the state. BMTC officials said that low-floor buses, which are designed for differently-abled people, get damaged due to bad road conditions. S. Rajesh who works as Traffic Manager in BMTC said, “BMTC buses have two exclusively marked seats for differently-abled people. They have special bus passes. Buses do not have ramps as of now. Exclusive space for the wheelchair is not available. Foldable wheelchair they can carry, but not the big one.”
Experts say that the BMTC is not focusing on universal access for people with varied kinds of disabilities. Although NGOs have registered many complaints regarding this with BMTC no solution is given to them yet. Devika, who works as a manager with the Association of People with Disability (APDP) said, “Limited knowledge about varied disability is there only ramp and railing like that. They are not seeing any other disability, only providing ramps is not accessible. Visual impairment is there, hearing impairment is there. There are no signboards for hearing-impaired children. There is no universal access.” The accessibility of BMTC buses for differently-abled people remains an unaddressed issue.