Today we are again representing people with disabilities at the Stellenbosch Municipal Mobility Forum. To date, there is no accessible public transport for people with mobility impairments in Stellenbosch and surrounding areas. Have you ever thought about what your life would be like without access to transport?
Transport gets you places, both literally and figuratively. For the lucky ones, getting to town, your office and to school is as simple as walking out the door and grabbing your car keys (and remembering to fill up the car from time to time). But what about people that cannot afford cars? Or that cannot drive a standard car? For most South Africans, public or taxi transport is their only means of getting around. And, although unreliable at times, public or taxi transport does open up the world of work, education and participation! But what if even public transport remains unattainable? This is the reality for too many people with disabilities in South Africa.
The failure to provide adequate and accessible public transport systems (motorised and non-motorised) for people with disabilities and others with special needs is an infringement on the rights of persons with disabilities as equal citizens. This leaves them without the required support, opportunities and services, all rights that are enshrined in the South African Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), to which South Africa is a signatory, as well as Stellenbosch municipality’s own policies on universal access and integrated transport.
That is why we will continue to lobby for change on a local and national level. We do so by being on the Mobility Forum, with our annual Walk with Disability (in November) and via social media and other channels. Join us in our call for accessible public transport fo all!