Recently, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) Malaysia together with Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) conducted an assessment on accessibility of the MRT for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
Representatives from various disability organizations were present to conduct the access audit “so that any inadequacy in facilities can be voiced out and thus upgraded”. Thiviya Tharshin has the story.
My first impression was the MRT station was very spacious. There were the usual but crucial tactile paving, special toilet for the PWD, special parking spots and elevators. The tickets counters were low so that it is easily accessible for the wheelchair users. There were LED screens through which announcements are made so that the deaf are informed too. The toilet was huge! And most importantly, it had adequate facilities. Besides that, a staff was assigned to help the users with disabilities.
The MRT train was spacious enough to accommodate wheelchair users. Inside the train, there were LED announcement boards too. There were sufficient route maps which is important for the deaf community as they should be informed whenever the train stops at the stations. As for the blind, there were audio announcements to keep them informed.
When you get down at the station, you can use the feeder bus service to several locations. The buses have ramp which makes it accessible for the wheelchair users. There are also special parking lots allocated for the PWD. There are sufficient lots. There are also emergency buttons nearby in case there is an emergency they will be able to communicate with the staffs through that. All in all, the services and facilities for the PWD of MRT have been greatly upgraded from that of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) and Light Rail Transit (LRT). However, like it is said, “there’s always room for improvement.”
As per the feedback of our participants, firstly, the bus does not stop right at the entrance. This is confusing for the blind as the tactile paving stops at the entrance. Hence, they may lose their way. MOT informed us that they would speak with Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya (MBPJ) to arrange for the feeder bus to stop right at the entrance. Secondly, when exiting, the tactile paving is too far at the end. This again, may confuse the blind as the station is too spacious. Thirdly, another participant of ours felt that the fare and route should be visually placed at the counter so that it is easier for the deaf to communicate. The LED announcements should have larger fonts so that it is easier for people with poor/low visual to read. Fourthly, the ramps in feeder buses are only provided for wheelchair users but what about the blind? Some gaps are large and they may trip over. The emergency buttons are also quite not practicable for the blind and the deaf communities. Both MOT and MRT should look into how they are going to make that service accessible for all types of PWD. Lastly, the MRT feeder buses should have LED announcement boards to show the oncoming stops for the deaf.
To sum it up, MRT has a vast improvement in their facilities and services compared to KTMB and LRT. The only thing that they would have to ponder about is, are their services and facilities accessible by all types of PWD of just one or two types of PWD? If they can narrow down and meet the needs of all types, it would be great for the PWD in Malaysia!