In October KwaZulu Natal launched a much needed dial-a-ride system for the eThekwini municipal area, an accessible transport system for people who find other forms of public transport unsuitable due to their special needs.

The service is available from Monday to Friday between 05H30 and 19H30 and on weekends between 06H00 and 19H00. Potential users of this service are required to register by sending their application forms (available from QASA offices) to Vukasambe Investments, PO Box 74479, Rochdale Park, 4034. Applications shall be assessed on merit and registration is not guaranteed.

The vehicles have been specially adapted to accommodate passengers with physical disabilities who enter nd leave the vehicle on a hydraulic lift operated by the driver. Guide dogs are transported at no extra charge and bookings are first-come first-served (not more than seven days prior to the trip). Repeat bookings (such as transport to and from work each day) can be made monthly for up to six months.

Kerb-to-kerb service is set at R2km. Once you are registered - call 0860 662453 to book a trip.

On the flipside of the coin Cape Town residents with disabilities are up in arms over the news that they must reregister in order to continue using their Dial-a-Ride. City of Cape Town’s head of marketing and passenger services, Ester Moag said that the system is being abused: ”The service currently transports approximately 200 persons a day and the City’s transport department must ensure that all current and future passengers utilise the service for its original purpose: travel between work and home.”

But disability groups disagree, saying that the Transport Act of 2009 does not stipulate that the service is only for travel between work and home. QASA’s Anthony Ghillino is understandably concerned: “We cannot get to school or other places of education, hospitals or clinics when we are ill, to the Department of Social Development to get our grants, to the shops for our groceries or to visit our families - not to mention any other meetings or appointment!” 

The re-registration process will require an assessment undertaken by an independent occupational therapist. All existing registrations will expire on December 31, 2010.

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