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16/10/2012
MTC buses not friendly, say disabled, elderly
Chennai: Differently abled people and senior citizens in the city are not happy with the MTC services. The corporation introduced 10 disabledfriendly buses last year but many members of the community say these buses have failed to serve their purpose. The elderly, on the other hand, complain that many young people occupy the seats reserved for them and conductors rarely come to their help. 
    On their part, MTC officials say the 10 buses are not just for the disabled and that others entering them are creating chaos. “It’s not just the disabled and senior citizens, we respect all passengers and try to ensure everyone is comfortable,” a senior official said. The differently-abled say this 
not convincing. “What is the point in introducing disabledfriendly buses if many of us are unable to use them,” asked Tamil Nadu Handicapped Federation general secretary Simma Chandran. The mechanism that helps lower stairs in these buses for wheel-chairs to be wheeled in and out has not been working, he added. 
    Four seats in every MTC 
bus are reserved for the disabled and the elderly. However, many conductors said they were unable to enforce the rule as it was not the part of their duty. In Chennai, unlike in other cities, there is no queue system for passengers entering buses. “Many youngsters often occupy the seats meant for us. Many stand on the footboard but no one helps us get in or get out,” said 67-year-old Jaya Srinivasan. 
    On Monday evening, 75-year-old P K Ravichandran waited at the Teynampet stop for a bus on route 1B to Tambaram but couldn’t get into a single bus even after a couple of hours. “It’s almost impossible 
to get in at this time. All seats reserved for senior citizens are occupied by others,” he said and added that “many don’t move out even if requested.” 
    Tamil Nadu Senior Citizens Association general secretary D Rajasekharan said: “Most seats reserved for senior citizens are just for namesake. And, senior citizens are weak to bargain for a seat.” The association has now urged the government to run special buses for the elderly and has filed petitions with the MTC in this regard. 
    Others blamed the bus conductors. “Many stay put in their seats and don’t insist that those occupying the seats meant for us should move out. It will be good if they increase the number of reserved seats in buses” said a 68-year-old commuter in Broadway.

NOT A SMOOTH RIDE: The MTC introduced 10 disabled-friendly buses last year