x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Travel eases with buses, shelters, taxis

The Department of Transport is phasing out older buses in favour of accessible versions next year.

ABU DHABI // The Department of Transport is phasing out older buses in favour of accessible versions next year.

As part of efforts to make the emirate more accessible for the disabled, the department, which bought the buses in 2008, has been training drivers to help special needs passengers get on and off the vehicles.

New bus stations and shelters have been constructed to be accessible, while those that already exist are being renovated.

The department has a number of projects aimed at easing travel for the disabled. Staff are developing accessibility standards for transport, to make sure the system is suitable for all members of society, including the hearing and visually impaired.

The department's Public Transport Way Finding standards will also ensure that disabled people are able to get a hold of information about their mobility options in appropriate formats.

Both projects are scheduled to begin next year.

Meanwhile, accessibility is also on the radar for TransAd, the centre that regulates the city's taxis.

Vehicle regulations for those with special needs had been drafted and were under review, said Alawi Dares, TransAd's communication officer.

"TransAd has taken necessary initiatives to deploy special need vehicles in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and will be on the road in the near future," Mr Dares said.

According to the Abu Dhabi Licensing Department, 1,394 vehicles are registered to people with special needs and 109 special needs individuals hold licences in the emirate.

"These individuals are members of our community, and this is our attempt to reach out to them and attend to their specific needs," said Mariam al Ahmadi, the former head of the special needs committee at Saaed, the company that responds to minor traffic accidents in Abu Dhabi.

mismail@thenational.ae