BMTA agrees to new bus fleet accessible to disabled commuters

ABOVEWheelchair ramp deployed on a bus operated by Singapore’s SMRT system. Photo: Joeyfjj

In a victory for disabled rights advocates and passengers, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority has agreed to buy thousands of new buses with low-floors.

After another delay in the long-planned fleet purchase, the BMTA on Tuesday announced that it had changed the specifications for the nearly 3,200 NGV buses it will buy.

The decision came after months of pressure from the public. In February hundreds of disabled commuters protested against the purchase of buses they said would be inaccessible to many, but the agency said then it was too late to change the requisition.

The new buses will need some accomodation of their own. Improvements must be made to roads and bridges, according to Naret Boonpeam of the BMTA, who said his agency was coordinating with transport and the Interior Ministry.

Eight years after BMTA first announced it would buy the new buses, the bidding process is expected to result in awarding the contract in December with the first buses to arrive by March, according to the Bangkok Post.

The median bidding price for those equipped with air conditioning is said to be about THB4.5 million, while those without will go out at THB3.8 million.

Need a lift: Disabled commuters oppose plan to purchase ill-equipped buses

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