I have been in Melbourne for two weeks attending the APJC training program. It is excited to be here, the most live-able city in the world. I am lucky to be the first Person With Disability (PWD) who attend this training. This is a good opportunity for me and other PWD in Indonesia to learn how accessibility in every sectors being implemented.
In Melbourne I often go around walking, errr actually I walk by wheelchair. I found that the driver respects pedestrians. Usually they will stop their vehicles and let us across the road safely. In some places there are crosswalk lights so pedestrians have time to across the road.
As a bus passenger I feel comfortable since I can access it easily. Every bus in the city is equipped with ramp. Bus driver will stop properly at the bus stop and provides the ramp for me. The bus has two spaces at the front side for the passenger using wheelchair.
You know, I can’t access buses in Indonesia. Drivers often don’t stop the buses properly, so this would be very dangerous for me and other vulnerable groups such as elderly, pregnant woman and etc.
However buses in Melbourne with access for wheelchair rider are not really safe, unlike in the USA. There is no seat belt for wheelchairs nor wheelchair riders. So when I am in the bus a friend has to keep me safe, because sometimes my front wheel moves, even though I already lock the brake. I actually am so lucky to have good friends, isn’t it?