ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Many of the stops along Istanbul’s Metrobus routes are not disabled-friendly, according to a social rights association that has filed a complaint against the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
According to a law passed in 2005, all public structures built after that date had to be disabled-friendly, said Süleyman Akbulut, head of the Social Rights and Studies Association, or TOHAD. “We warned the municipality many times and they just ignored us,” he said.
TOHAD is an association that helps the disabled, those incapacitated due to a chronic disease, the elderly, women and social groups in risk.
The 41 kilometer Metrobus line has 32 stops and runs between Avcılar on the European side and Söğütlüçeşme on the Asian side of the city. While it has provided some relief to public transportation with its special Metrobus-only roads, there have been serious criticisms over the buses used. Phileas buses used on the route have been criticized for being too expensive and not strong enough for Istanbul’s population and roads.
Akbulut said the stations at İETT Camp, Küçükçekmece, Şirinevler, Bayrampaşa, Edirnekapı, Ayvansaray, Halıcıoğlu, Perpa, SSK Hospital, Çağlayan, Zincirlikuyu and the four new stations in Kadıköy were not disabled-friendly.
All their warnings to the municipality were dismissed with the reply: “We are on it. Our work is continuing,” said Akbulut.
Forty-year-old Recep Mersin, who was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot five years ago, said it was impossible for him to use the Şirinevler stop near the Istanbul Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Hospital.
“No matter how disabled-friendly the buses are, once one cannot use the stops, the rest is meaningless,” said Mersin.
He said it was his legal right to demand that the municipality address his concerns.