Last month I went to observe the extension work of MRT Green Line (Northern Bound). Workers were doing their jobs at the construction site at Sai-yud station. At first sight, I recognised there was a glass room at the front of the elevator (What da heck!). Surprisingly, I later found the same thing on the next 3 stations. (What da…!)Afterward, I went to have a meeting with the DRT (Department of Rail Transport – Ref link: https://www.accessibilityisfreedom.org/en/participating-in-a-meeting-to-address-the-importance-of-public-transportation-for-all/), I informed this issue to the meeting board. After a brief discussion, an initial consideration came out justifying that it was done in an attempt to protect users from rain splash and, perhaps, security concern. I defended against the argument that there was an alternative way to prevent rain splash like redesign the roof entrance to be more protective. For security concern, the accessible lift operates only its working hours. Other than that its electricity isn’t working.
One might annoyingly voice in their minds that “It’s just a modern glass room. What’s wrong with that? (and with you?!!)”
I got to say honestly that if you’re not a wheelchair user, like myself, you don’t know what you’re really talking about. The PWDs seem to have been voicing and demanding because what we want is the travelling that’s comfortable, safe, and equally accessible to all.
But this glass structure, transforming the entrance area to be a room, is unnecessarily causing inaccessibility. The structure would soon be equipped with a doorway, for opening-closing, which would serve as a difficulty in getting in/off. The existing already limited area is even more reduced to an extremely narrow one, feeling totally cramped. Those who come with assistants would also find more problems in moving around in such a too tiny space. And what about the blind? I can only wish them well. See, these are all unnecessary. Let this sink in for a moment…
I then asked briefly with the representative of Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and got quite a loose kind of response saying that this present design could be the legacy from the long-gone former designers (before handing over to MRTA). I only had to say “Holy shit!” (3rd time, if you count).
The former Minister for Transport, Mr. Arkom Termpitaya, was a really nice guy. Before he came into the position, his career engaged directly in this industry and had firmly guaranteed among his colleagues the equality of travelling. I also have faith in the department’s new management team, leading by Mr. Shuksiam Childchop, the present Minister of Transport, that would continue and incorporate the vision and universal design (UD) as part of the new government’s policy.
Solution: I purpose to remove the door and any others obstacles at the front while still leaving the rest unchanged.
I also wish the representatives of DRT would put the spotlight on this serious issue.