Wed, Dec 02, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Act altered to make public transport more accessible

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The legislature yesterday passed amendments to the People with Disabilities Rights Protection Act (身心障礙者權益保障法) that require accessibility services to be provided on all forms of public transport.

The unamended law only stipulated that authorities should “invite representatives from the related associations for people with disabilities, local transport vehicles carriers and the competent authorities in charge of social welfare services, to discuss and plan appropriate routes, airlines, service schedules, car/carriage/cabin/compartment (of vehicles, airplanes and ships), etc, for accessible transportation services.”

“The biggest change brought about by the amendments is that there is now no need for such long and drawn-out discussions before accessibility services can be established. Rather, accessibility is now the principle, with other improvement measures seen as additional, and only for those routes with practical difficulties would meetings need to be held over whether waivers are to be granted,” said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Yang Yu-hsin (楊玉欣), who has used a wheelchair since adolescence.

The amended law also requires public infrastructure and entertainment venues to be equipped with facilities and equipment that ensure they are accessible for people with disabilities, and licenses are to be withheld if they fail to meet the stipulated requirements.

Among the amendments is a requirement that city and county governments add real-time captioning to public-service announcements for people with hearing disabilities.

While sign-language interpretation is provided by governments, “there are also people who have lost their hearing due to age or through an accident who might not be familiar with sign language. For them, there is a need for real-time captions in order to receive public information,” KMT Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said.

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