High-floor MyCiti buses exclude wheelchair-bound

John Maytham received an email from a listener named Patience saying she was discriminated against by a MyCiti bus driver and a law enforcement officer in Khayalitsha.

She writes:

When I was being assisted into the bus by a friend of mine, he told my friend and me that he doesn't take people with my condition in his bus. When I asked him what is my condition, he got out of the bus to call law enforcement to remove me from the bus as I had gotten out of my wheelchair and sat on the stairs of the bus.

He told his friend to remove the wheelchair.

Patience, email

Patience added that this was not the first time this has happened to her saying that being wheelchair bound has led to MyCiti bus drivers treating her poorly.

John Maytham speaks to Brett Herron, Mayco member for transport about the incident. Herron has investigated the matter.

Herron explains that when the MyCiti bus service was introduced it was decided to purchase and operate 'high-floor buses' on the trunk route.

The infrastructure and bus stations were designed to accommodate the high-floor buses for universal access and so have high-platform stations.

We did this because we were following the national government's policy...and low-floor buses had engine challenges. Their engines are in the front and they make the buses very hot.

Brett Herron, Mayco member transport

But when they reached the stage of rolling out the N2 Express Serve about four years later, he says their experience led to a decision to change the entire service to low-floor buses, explains Herron.

But because capacity was quickly reached, they decided to add a few high-floor buses from Phase One to help with the demand.

They are not universally accessible form the side-walk.

Brett Herron, Mayco member transport

This passenger, from the information I received, was asked to wait for the next bus because we alternate the buses so that someone in a wheelchair can access the service.

Brett Herron, Mayco member transport

John Maytham asked why they passenger cannot be lifted into the bus rather than wait. Herron says it is not an ideal situation and the driver is not meant to leave the cabin. He was informed the driver asked passengers to help her in.

Maytham says Patience says she did not feel kindly treated and was treated as a nuisance.

The vehicle operating companies are responsible for the conduct of drivers and Herron says the company is conducting an investigation to find out what happened.

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