For many, getting from one place to another is a breeze especially with the transport infrastructure we have – connectivity of various rail services, walkways, buses and taxis. Yet, for also a significant many with restricted mobility such as senior citizens and those with disabilities, independent travel can be a challenge. Even to the nearest shop.
In conjunction with the International Day of People with Disability and Human Rights Week, Grab Malaysia, the Make It Right Movement (MIRM) and Challenges Foundation have rallied together to create awareness on the importance of limitless mobility for those with restricted mobility with the launch of Grab’s social impact programme, GrabSuperHeroes.
Mary Chen, Editor of Challenges Magazine, Malaysia’s first disability magazine and the founder of Challenges Foundation shared that according to the Malaysia National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, 11.8% of Malaysians over the age of 18 have some form of disability with visual impairment being the highest followed by those with difficulty walking
And advocate for accessibility and social inclusion for people with restricted mobility, Chen has been tirelessly campaigning for better transport systems in the country and also for social inclusion for PWDs through job placement programmes, sports activities and also through school programmes.
“But despite the figure,” she added, “Malaysia is still one of the many countries that are not as progressive when it comes to accessibility for people with restricted mobility and this correlates with how we are encouraging or hampering our young people with restricted mobility!”
Sharing her experience as a person with restricted mobility, Rachel Siew, a law graduate and currently an Administration Executive/Copywriter with MIRM shared that whilst she is grateful to friends and family who are ever willing to go out of their way to help her get places, she is acutely aware of the struggle to balance her need for assistance versus being able to be independent. Siew who lives in Subang Jaya and work in Petaling Jaya, shared that using public transport has been a long and cumbersome ordeal and have since resorted to Grab to help her to and from work and also to keep her social calendar occupied.
“I do not want my condition to be an excuse, and like every abled bodied persons out there, I have hobbies, aspirations and even a social life! Which is why ride hailing services like Grab has been a blessing for me. It’s very interesting how someone like me can be so much more just because I am more mobile now,” she further added.
The piece to complete the puzzle, Grab’s SEA’s leading ride hailing service humbly recounts their reason for existence and is amazed at how their role in society has evolved as such.
Country Head of Grab Malaysia, Jaygan Fu shared that when Grab (formerly known as MyTeksi) was introduced in 2012, their main aim was to provide a safer mode of transportation especially for womenfolk and to elevate the welfare of taxi drivers in Malaysia.
“Since the, we have seen how we are able to leverage on technology and evolve our services to better impact our community. With the advancement of tech, people with hearing or visual impairment can also communicate via computers, laptops and smartphones. They have blogs, social media accounts and online business, what more, being able to book a ride?” said Fu.
Fu when on to add that through feedback from people they meet or via their social media and customer service channels, the homegrown ride hailing service is aware that there are customers with restricted mobility who have are not very reliant on their service to move around town more efficiently and have often given feedback on ways to improve.
“It is with them in mind we are introducing our pilot GrabSuperHerous Programme to help more people with restricted mobility to capitalise on our services and have limitless mobility. They do not need to be reliant on their carers or be concerned about traffic and parking. Let us offer you door to door service and get you to your destination,: said Fu added excitedly.”
Kicking off in Klang Valley, public will be receiving communications from Grab inviting people with restricted mobility or organisations to register their interest with Grab and they will mobilise their GrabSuperHeroes to come on – ground to help download and teach them how to use it. Beginning first with senior citizens and OKU card holders, Grab users under this programme will automatically receive a discount of RM3 off for 20 rides per mont. Whilst for current users, they will need to indicate in the online form to be opted into the programme. Drivers will also be informed that these users are part of the GrabSuperHeroes Programme and may require some form of assistance.
“This is just the beginning of a long journey for us. As a ride hailing service, we want to realise our mission to make transportation accessible to all and make a deep social impact to our community. Together with our partners, we have many things lined up in the coming months to continue to create awareness which also includes training our drivers to be more socially aware and the right way to assist their passengers who may have restricted mobility as well as on-ground engagement programmes. This is a passionate cause for Grab and we are humbled to be able to partner with the likes of MIRM and Challenges Foundation to affect this change,” said Fu.