Thu | Feb 25, 2021

Wheelchair users lament transportation problems

Published:Saturday | January 16, 2021 | 7:16 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Marcus Banton and Vinnette Green, wheelchair users who complained about the challenges they face when using public transportation and taxis.
Marcus Banton and Vinnette Green, wheelchair users who complained about the challenges they face when using public transportation and taxis.

Members of the disabled community, specifically users of wheelchairs, have appealed to the Government to provide them with more public transportation designated for wheelchair users.

The wheelchair users complained to The Gleaner about the problems they experience in accessing public transportation and the treatment meted out to them from drivers.

Marcus Banton, resident of the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre, who uses a wheelchair, said that when he visited Brazil to represent Jamaica in swimming, the majority of public buses had special areas to accommodate users of wheelchairs.

However, he said that in Jamaica, the disabled are forced to wake up early in the mornings to catch the designated bus for them even if they have business to conduct much later in the day.

“I always wonder why they don’t get some buses with one or two spots for wheelchair users so mi nuh affi come out here 8 o’clock every morning,” he said.

For Vinnette Green, not having proper accommodation for wheelchair users set them up for disrespect from taxi and bus drivers, who reject them many times.

“A lot of the disabled cannot manage the ordinary bus. If you come out and the disabled bus come late or it don’t come and you have to take an ordinary bus, when you say, ‘Driver, please open the door,’ they don’t want to help you. They discriminate against you,” she said.

Green said that she experiences similar challenges when trying to stop a taxi. “The taxi dem is the next one. When you say, ‘Driver, you going town’? Can you help me?’ Dem seh things like ‘No. Mi can’t help you.’

Meanwhile, wheelchair users from the Sir John Golding Rehabilitation Centre welcomed Tuesday’s reopening of the Sir John Golding Road in St Andrew. The road was in a state of disrepair for about three years.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com