The road transport and highways ministry has issued draft guidelines, which among other things mandate reserving places for persons with disabilities within 30 metres of entrances of bus terminals to create accessible public transit modes. The guidelines seek to make the terminals and stops more accessible by introducing a uniform set of norms for all states to follow while constructing such facilities.
The “accessibility guidelines for bus terminals and bus stops” were issued on Tuesday and sought comments from stakeholders until December 16. There are no set standards for states to follow while building bus terminals and stops. Once notified, these guidelines will be a reference in creating accessible public transit modes, officials said.
“There are guidelines available on universal accessibility but there have been very limited attempts to develop comprehensive guidelines for road transportation to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities for services in bus terminals and bus stops. These guidelines focus significantly on extending accessibility options to wheelchair users, people with limited walking/ movement abilities, people with visual impairment or low vision, people with hearing impairment, elderly and infirm persons, pregnant ladies and children,” say the guidelines, seen by HT.
The guidelines say signage should be in the vision zone of 900-1800 mm to be clearly visible to wheelchair-bound people. For white cane users or the visually impaired, the guidelines mandate the states to ensure there are no protruding objects such as directional signs, tree branches, wires, ropes, public telephone booths, benches, and ornamental fixtures.
“These should be installed keeping in mind the range of a person using a white cane. A barrier or sounding object to warn visually impaired persons should be provided under stairways or escalators. Walkways, halls, corridors, passageways, aisles, or other circulation spaces should have clear headroom to minimise the risk of accidents. The radial range of the white cane is a band 1200 mm wide.”
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, mandates the government to ensure access to all modes of transport that conform with design standards, including retrofitting old modes wherever technically feasible and safe for persons with disabilities and without entailing major structural changes. Under the law, the government is supposed to take suitable measures to provide facilities for the disabled at bus stops, railway stations and airports.
The guidelines say the difference in level between the driveway and footpath surface should be avoided. “Where the difference is unavoidable, such drop shall have a kerb ramp. Tactile floor guidance to be provided from the building drop-off area leading up to the entrance of the building.” They say an access route should be provided connecting all major entrances and exits of the building from the alighting and boarding point of taxi stands and car park lots for persons with disabilities. “In multi-storey buildings, the accessible entrance must have an accessible route leading to the elevators. The accessible entrance, if different from the main entrance, should be located adjacent to the main entrance and not at the rear of the building.”