Prisoner at home or active community participant? : exploring factors that influence public transport service provision for persons with disabilities in the eThekwini Municipality.
This study explores the factors influencing public transport service provision for persons with disabilities in eThekwini, South Africa. It was motivated by an awareness of the many barriers that persons with disabilities face to participate fully within society. The study recognises that transport is a means to an end, and an end in itself. It is a complicated system and therefore it is explored in this study from the perspectives of the various stakeholders, namely persons with disabilities; the operators and owners of public transport systems; and the city officials, consultants and experts in the field. The results indicate that persons with disabilities are excluded from public transport and experience challenges in each step of the travel chain. Themes highlighted include the power of money, the attitude of the transport operators and passengers, as well as the inaccessibility of the vehicles and built environment. This in turn contributes to occupational marginalization, occupational deprivation, occupational apartheid and limited occupational choice, which is related to not being able to pursue various occupations, being isolated, feeling powerless and having a reduced sense of well-being. The eThekwini Municipality is in the process of planning and implementing the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network, however there are concerns about this future system and the lack of Accelerated Modal Upgrading and other measures to improve the current system. There needs to be a greater commitment to addressing public transport service provision holistically, so that persons with disabilities can fully participate as citizens in society.