Debbie Allard, 44, took her mother, Kathleen Gordon, 68, who uses a wheelchair and is partially blind, and family out to Bayside Mall and Table Bay Mall on New Year’s Eve.
“Working so much, I wanted to do something special for my family. I decided to research MyCiTi and see if they’re wheelchair-friendly,” Debbie explains.
The single mother says they took four buses that day and the trouble started in Duynefontein.
“When the bus came, the wheel ramp could not come out so we had to carry her with the wheelchair into the bus. The seatbelt did not work, none of the wheelchair-friendly equipment worked.
“We had to physically hold the wheelchair throughout that ENTIRE bus trip to ensure she does not fall and roll around.
“My mother was in so much distress every time the bus moved. She was so scared. The driver saw he had a wheelchair commuter in the bus but he drove like a maniac, not even slowing down.
“When we got to Table Bay Mall, I asked the very ‘I-don’t-care’ attitude driver to just have some patience as there was no ramp for my mother and I had to carry her down the steps.
“I asked him for assistance and he told me: ‘It’s not my job’,” Debbie says.
After her nightmare experience, she says the family won’t use a MyCiTi bus again.
“All I want is for these buses’ equipment to be checked and to make real provisions for those using wheelchairs. The drivers also seem to not know how to use the equipment, so training and sensitising their employees would not hurt. Not just for my mother, but for many others out there,” Debbie adds.
The City of Cape Town says drivers are not permitted to carry passengers.
“Due to the risk of injury in carrying a wheelchair down the steps, the drivers are not permitted to carry wheelchair passengers up or down the steps.
“Generally, the MyCiTi bus system is wheelchair accessible with low-floor buses being used for feeder routes and high-floor buses used for trunk routes with station stops.”
The City says they have also notified MyCiTi bus operators that the equipment is not working. “In the event of ramp failure, a bus driver is required to stop as close to the kerb or station as possible and, if necessary, provide assistance to bridge the gap.
“The City has brought the non-functional ramps and seatbelts to the attention of the company contracted to provide the service and they will undertake necessary repairs.”Daily Voice