Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beijing introduces free public transportation plan for the disabled
Global Times | March 01, 2012 00:50
By Xu Wen

Beijing transportation authorities and the city's association for disabled people have announced that the disabled from today on will be able to enjoy free public transportation.

The Beijing Municipal Commission of Transport (BMCT) and Beijing Disabled Persons' Federation (BDPF) said in a press conference Tuesday that, in addition to buses, blind people may ride subways for free.

Beneficiaries only need present their certificate of disability issued by the China Disabled Persons' Federation to enjoy the specialized services, the China News Service reported.

An official with the BMCT indicated that the free rides for the disabled would be on buses with initial digits from 1 to 9, as well as the express 101 and 102 buses, and routes to remote counties and districts. The blind are also allowed to have one person to accompany them on subway lines for free.

"Disabled persons are also permitted to carry on board with them their indispensable equipment free of charge, but it must be stressed that all disabled persons ensure their certificate photo is clear so that identification can easily be made," the official said.

"The new policy applies to not only local Beijing residents, but also to disabled people from other cities," Li Caimao, director of the policy research center at the BDPF, told the Global Times.

Zhou Huibiao, a 26-year-old physically disabled man who works at a technology company in Beijing, told the Global Times that he felt the measures highlighted the government's concern for disabled persons.

Although it will decrease transportation costs for the disabled, Zhou believes it is not enough to help the physically disabled people move around, as there are few specialized accessible doors on public buses in Beijing.

Cheng Jiyong, a disabled entrepreneur in Beijing, told the Beijing Daily that the measures will really benefit the disabled, and recommended disabled persons avoid the use of public transportation during rush hours.

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