Dubai: As the world recently observed the International Day of People with Disability, Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) said it has renewed its mission of making the city’s public transport system inclusive and accessible to everyone, particularly the people of determination.
“The RTA is keen to make its entire projects, facilities, services and mass transit means friendly to the People of Determination,” the RTA told Gulf News, adding: “This commitment is in line with the provisions of the Federal Law No. 29 of 2006 regarding the rights of people of determination. It also concurs with the government’s initiative to make Dubai a friendly city for people of determination.”
The RTA enumerated the projects it has rolled out over the years in line with government’s initiative called My Community ... A City for Everyone — aimed at transforming entire Dubai into a friendly city for people of determination.
Exclusive nol cards are issued to people of determination and they from fares in public buses, metro, tram and the water bus. The nol card itself is Braille-designed to enable those visually impaired to differentiate it from their other cards. The RTA also offered people of determination free rides on Dubai Ferry on the newly-launched service between Dubai and Sharjah.
Metro stations and cabins are fitted with tactile floors for guiding and informing individuals with audiovisual challenges. Lifts and escalators are powered with sound and optical systems while 1,500 public buses have hydraulic system to enable drivers to lower the level of the bus to reduce the space to the sidewalk so that people of determination with mobility issues, such as limping, can easily board buses.
The RTA has also provided directional signs in Braille leading to toilets and counters for those with mobility challenges. It also provided audio enhancements fitted with microphones for reception staff to improve the communication with individuals with hearing challenges. There are electric wheelchairs recharging stations at Jebel Ali, Deira, Hatta and Al-Qusais bus stations while some offices have been upgraded following the standards of the Dubai Universal Design Code for People of Determination.
Other services offered to the people of determination include exemption of one vehicle from Salik toll. The RTA also exempted people of determination from registration and renewal fees of one vehicle per person under this category. In public car parks, the RTA allocated four spaces per 1,000 parking slots for free to the people of determination in several key places. It also issued people of determination with permanent three-year parking permit, one-year temporary parking permit, and three-month tourist parking permit.
The RTA Foundation offers wheelchairs based on entitlement certificate issued by the Dubai Health Authority. It has also rolled out the Dubai Audio Library initiative in cooperation with Bookshare to provide equal educational opportunities for individuals facing visual challenges such as blindness, low vision, dyslexia, and others. The library provides access to a wide range of e-books. The RTA’s website has also been redeveloped to provide text in different font sizes for those with vision problems.
Employment for people of determination
The RTA has far employed 34 people of determination (eight females and 26 males). It has also carried out 66 training courses involving 459 training hours to improve the skills of people of determination.
The RTA also signed an agreement with the Dubai Club for People of Determination for sponsoring four athletes. It also sponsored the Artificial Intelligence Class at Rashid Centre for People of Determination.
The RTA is committed to the Protection Against Discrimination Law as provided for in Law No 2 of 2014 concerning the Protection of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Emirate of Dubai, and the Law No (8) of 2018 concerning the Management of the Government of Dubai Human Resources. The people of determination feature high in RTA’s operations and services in the context of implementing the directives of Dubai Government to make Dubai a friendly city for people of determination.
RTA initiatives for people of determination:
Four free parking spaces for every 1,000 car parks.
Exemption from public transport fare.
Introducing Braille version nol card.
Upgrading the website to serve the needs of various visual challenges.
Exemption from Salik toll.
Exemption from vehicle and driver licensing fees.
Employing 34 individuals of People of Determination at RTA.
Completing the initial phase of the Dubai Code for People of Determination.
Free temporary and permanent parking permits.
Free registration and renewal of one vehicle.
50 per cent discount on drivers licensing fees.
Reserving seats for people of determination on marine transport modes.
Audio-visual equipment at Metro stations and cars.
Tactile floor, signs for people who are visually challenged.
Fitting elevators and escalators with sound and optical systems.
Equipping public buses to ease boarding and alighting of passengers.
Directional signs in Braille language.
Electric wheelchair charging stations.
Free wheelchair every month.
Arabic audio library.
Designating a category in the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport.