Human rights defenders keep criticizing accessibility in Salihorsk
The administration of the Salihorsk-based bus depot No. 1 turned down a request of local human rights activist Aliaksei Valabuyeu, who demanded to bring the organization of public transport and information on its schedule in line with the objective needs of people with disabilities.
The depot was urged to adjust the bus timetable in Salihorsk, so that wheelchair users could know the exact time when low floor buses with arrangements for wheelchairs are running on urban routes. This practice is common in civilized countries where human rights are more respected.
In his response, Director of bus depot No. 1 Uladzimir Aleshka, on the one hand, confirms the existence of buses with arrangements for wheelchairs, but, on the other hand, states that “the main direction of movement of wheelchair users is the Salihorsk Central District Hospital, so these buses operate mainly on the routes going to the hospital.”
Another argument the official mentioned against adjusting the schedule of buses is the alleged absence of complaints from people with disabilities over accessibility obstacles. The existence of a social taxi, which can be hired by application from the town’s social services center, was the last argument against wheelchair-friendly timetables of public transport.
Aliaksei Valabuyeu considers this argument offensive to people with disabilities. Accessibility, according to the human rights defender, is not being able to get to the hospital by social taxi, but equal opportunities for daily movement around the town. Aliaksei Valabuyeu says such an approach is discriminatory and plans to file a complaint to the Minsk regional public transport department.