ETHEKWINI Municipality’s plan to ensure that disabled people make a meaningful contribution to the mainstream economy is progressing well through the Dial-A-Ride fleet which ensures that its 2 400 commuters have access to employment opportunities.
With the vision to be Africa’s most caring and liveable City, the Municipality annually commits R30 million to the operation and maintenance of the 12 fleet Dial-A-Ride vehicles, which promotes the dignity of disabled people through a transport that is tailored to suite their special needs.
This service is usually used by wheelchair users and visually impaired people. Mlungisi Wosiyana, eThekwini Transport Authority (ETA) Deputy Head for Public Transport, said this transport was established because disabled people faced challenges in accessing mainstream public transport like buses and taxis.
“This door-to-door public transport service has been prioritised for people needing to get to places of employment at peak times and for those needing to get to clinics, social, religious and other gatherings during off-peak-times,” he said. Of the fleet of 12, 10 vehicles are fully operational.
The other two are kept as spares and are used when there is a demand. Because safety is of paramount importance, the vehicles are regularly sent for road worthiness inspection. “We have also invested in the training of our employees to drive these vehicles and on how to assist the passengers when they are getting on and off the vehicle,” Wosiyana added. The 2012 Census figures revealed that eThekwini Metro has about 10 000 disabled people.
The Dial-A-Ride service is an interim measure while the City is busy with the construction of dedicated routes as it prepares to introduce the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network, GO! Durban.