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Accessible transport inquiry welcomed

15 September 2003 Media Statement

Accessible transport inquiry welcomed


Disability Issues Minister Ruth Dyson today congratulated the Human Rights Commission for setting up a national inquiry into the accessibility of public land transport for people with disabilities.

“To be actively involved in our communities, people need to be able to get around - whether it’s to go to work, visit friends, or do the shopping. Many people have no private means of transport, and it is essential that they can use buses and trains.”

Ruth Dyson said more needed to be done to make public transport accessible.

“Many urban bus companies are introducing kneeling and low floor buses, which can accommodate wheelchair users and others who have difficulty getting on and off buses. City planners are also beginning to consider the needs of all citizens when they design kerbing, signage, bus stops, parking meters, and so on.

“However, the number of complaints received by the Human Rights Commission shows that lack of accessible public transport is still one of the main barriers preventing people with disabilities from participating fully in our communities.”

Ms Dyson welcomed the commission’s decision to hold public hearings next year.

“Public hearings will ensure that people with disabilities are closely involved, not just in identifying problems, but most importantly, in developing solutions.”

Ms Dyson said accessible transport would benefit many New Zealanders.

“One in five New Zealanders has a long-term disability. Add to that the number of older people, parents with young children, and others with short-term mobility problems, and the economic and social benefits of accessible public transport are indisputable.”

The government’s commitment to accessible transport is outlined in the New Zealand Disability Strategy.

Details of the public hearings, which will begin in April 2004, will be available on the Human Rights Commission website, www.hrc.co.nz/Inquiry

EBDS

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