Activists urge Tamil Nadu government to procure disability-friendly MTC buses
Amid reports that Tamil Nadu’s state transport companies are planning to refurbish more than 1,200 buses, the Freedom of Movement Coalition (FMC), a pan-India group advocating for fair transport, has urged the government to procure low-entry accessible buses that can provide level boarding for all elderly, disabled, pregnant, passengers with small children and others.
The coalition noted that the ground-to-floor height of buses in cities like Chennai should be a maximum of 650mm and a recent Right to Information (RTI) found that almost 80% of the fleet Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) do not meet specifications.
He also noted that “2,822 of MTC’s 3,460 vehicles are not recognized as buses because they are on truck frames nearly 4 feet tall.”
Citing a warrant from the Madras High Court which specified that buses acquired after its 2016 order must be universally accessible, the FMC claimed that contrary to the order, MTC along with the State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) purchased and introduced new buses. of the fleet that are not accessible to citizens with disabilities.
“In 2019, MTC purchased 695 buses and SETC purchased 492 buses. In total, across the eight transport companies, at least 4,381 new buses have been added four years after the High Court orders (and) none of them are disabled friendly,” he said. note.
During the 2021 budget session, the state government said it would replace aging buses with new ones. The government had reached an agreement with the KfW (German Development Bank) to purchase 12,000 BS-VI buses and 2,000 electric buses from 2021 over a five-year period at an 80% cost-sharing rate (KfW ) as interest. free loan and 20 percent by the government.