Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt has vowed to speed up efforts to improve transport facilities for the disabled.
The ministry's six organisations _ the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA), Airports of Thailand (AoT), the Transport Company, the Marine Department, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) _ will develop public transport facilities to make them more suitable for disabled passengers.
Lifts, toilets and pavements for the disabled at Don Mueang airport, bus terminals, train stations and skytrain stations must be improved as quickly as possible, Mr Chadchat said.
The ministry will also coordinate with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to improve the state of the city's pavements to make them more suitable for disabled people.
BMTA governor Opart Petchmunee said the city's buses will be equipped with a system to mount wheelchairs on to the vehicles and folding chairs will be fitted at the front to make space for wheelchairs when needed.
Up to 300 orange air-conditioned buses will be modified, Mr Opart said, adding that the cost could be 100,000 baht a bus.
The 3,183 new gas-fuelled public buses, which are marked for procurement by the BMTA, must also come with equipment to facilitate the disabled, he said.
SRT governor Prapat Chongsanguan said the organisation had improved facilities for the disabled in two trains, adding that a total of 10 trains are scheduled to be modified within March.
Thitima Chaisang, secretary to the Transport Minister, said the Marine Department is also planning to develop facilities for the handicapped at Sathon Pier and its adjacent areas.
Meanwhile, ministry officials will receive training on Monday on how to help disabled people use public transport, she said.
Suporntham Mongkolsawat, secretary-general of the Redemptorist Foundation for People with Disabilities, said he was pleased with the measures.
"The disabled normally rely on taxis for transport, which is expensive," Mr Suporntham said. "The planned facilities will help the handicapped a great deal."
About the author
- Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook