The Jakarta Post
Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo took a bus trip on Thursday morning with dozens of members of the Barrier-Free Tourism community, a group that campaigns for better access to public facilities for people with disabilities.
Transportation Agency head Udar Pristono and Transjakarta Management Authority head Pargaulan Butarbutar were also on hand.
The community had asked the governor and a number of city officials to join them in an outing by Transjakarta bus to look at the city's infrastructure, which is widely seen as inaccessible to the disabled.
The governor was keen to experience the difficulties faced by the disabled when using public transportation. 'Wait, slow down [..] I want to know how they get on the bus,' he said while helping a participant in a wheelchair get on board a bus.
The group got off the bus at the Senen Transjakarta shelter and experienced obstacles when using the narrow ramp.
Among other difficulties faced by the community during the trip was the ticket counter ' which was too high for people with wheelchairs, the lack of audio-visual signage and the lack of space for wheelchairs.
Group co-founder Cucu Saidah said they appreciated the governor's effort to better understand their difficulties when getting around the city. 'During the short trip I told the governor about our difficulties, that the city's infrastructure was built without consideration for our needs,' she said, adding that she presented several recommendations to the governor.
'We recommend that the city administration provide training regarding accessibility to public officials who have a role in decision making. We also encourage Pak Jokowi to instruct related agency officials to join our monthly outing to learn about our needs and to include an obligation to provide access to the disabled in requirements to gain a building permit,' she said.
Cucu also told the governor the group's experiences when trying out the monorail mock-up which is currently on exhibition at the National Monument (Monas) compound.
'What is wrong with the monorail design?' asked Jokowi.
'The space for wheelchairs is too narrow. It should be at least 120 centimeters wide,' Cucu said, adding that public transportation facilities should provide audio-visual signs.
Jokowi responded positively to the suggestions, promising that he would take the recommendations into consideration.
'I have experienced their difficulties in getting around the city, including when they use pedestrian walkways, when they take public transportation and when they cross bridges. There are so many obstacles,' he said.
Jokowi said that he had instructed relevant agencies to improve the facilities.
'I have told the heads of the transportation and social affairs agencies to improve the facilities. If the facilities are good enough for the disabled then they are good enough for everybody.'
Pargaulan Butarbutar promised that the authority would improve the facilities on the Transjakarta buses and at bus stops.
'We will evaluate and improve the facilities. We have already considered the needs of the disabled but we will improve them, particularly the ramps at some of the crossing bridges,' he said.
Cucu said that the group hoped to take the governor to a tourist site in another outing, 'Next time we want to take the governor to Monas to study its accessibility,' she said.