Mobility remains one of the major challenges for the physically disabled person(s) in the country especially when it comes to public modes of transport.
For Martha Mwangi, her disability has reduced her extrovert self to an “anti-social” person as she always has to think twice before stepping out of her house for engagements as it means spending more on taxis.
“Using a matatu is not favourable, these guys have no patience to let us board and even when you meet a kind matatu crew, the seats are not meant for people like us so you often end up occupying the entire 3 seater front row in the event of a 14-seater, which means you have to pay for three seats,”.
Martha’s story is one that many PWDs can relate to and it’s this challenge among others that the Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2022, which is sponsored by Majority leader Amos Kimunya, seeks to address.
Public Service vehicles (PSVs) will now be required to install special seats for the physically challenged if parliament approves the Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2022.
“A registered owner of a public transport shall adjust the vehicle to suit persons with disabilities in such a manner as may be specified by the council of persons with disabilities in consultation with the relevant government agencies,” reads the Bill.
The Bill also prescribes penalties for Parents, guardians or institutions who deny disabled children opportunities that infringe on their rights. Such offences will attract a fine not exceeding Sh200,000 or term of imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.
If the Bill is passed, Buildings under construction will also be required to comply with the stipulated regulations to support PWDs before they can be issued with a certificate of completion or allowed to take occupation.
There are between 2.2% and 4.6% of PWDs in Kenya according to recent statistics.