Persons with disabilities yesterday urged the authorities concerned to ensure that the metro rail has all accessibility for the disabled.
They also said staff members of the metro rail have to be given necessary training so they can help persons with disabilities with a friendly attitude.
They were speaking at a discussion organised in the capital's Brac Centre, marking International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 (today).
Brac and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) organised the programme where representatives including disabled members of around 80 NGOs took part.
Conducting the discussion, Muhammad Abu Nur Siddique, managing director (MD) of Dhaka Mass Transit Company Ltd (DMTCL), said all necessary facilities for the disabled have already been integrated in the metro rail project.
Brac and NHRC also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for jointly working to enhance facilities for persons with disabilities in the project.
Takayuki Fujitomi, acting team leader of consultant consortium NKDM Association for Dhaka Metro Rail Development Project, made a multimedia presentation, demonstrating disabled access in the metro system.
Najma Ara Begum Poppy, general secretary of Bangladesh Visually Impaired People's Society, said people's attitude toward the disabled are sometimes quite unfriendly. Keeping that in mind, “the metro rail staffers must be given [proper] training on how to handle persons with disabilities.”
A number of speakers recommended half fare for the disabled.
Responding to queries, the MD of DMTCL said, “The entire design of the metro rail infrastructure has been made disabled-friendly. We'll have Metro Rail Traffic Police to look after all these issues.”
The committee on fixing fare will set appropriate fares for the disabled and the elderly, he added.
Speaking as the chief guest, NHRC Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque said, “The needs of the persons with disabilities are under serious consideration of the government... We have to adopt a metro rail management system [that is] friendly to them.”
KM Abdus Salam, director general of NGO Affairs Bureau; Penny Morton, deputy high commissioner of Australian High Commission in Dhaka; and KM Morshed, director advocacy of technology and partnership at Brac also spoke at the programme.
The much-hyped metro rail service, formally named as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line-6, is expected to open half of its 20.10 kilometres of route by the end of 2019.