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Ministry replies to disabled men's letter

01-11-2012 10:36 BJT Special Report:2012 Spring Festival |

By An Baijie (China Daily)

BEIJING - The Ministry of Railways vowed on Monday night to improve service for disabled people in response to the complaints of three disabled men who said they met with a number of difficulties using trains.

The ministry's statement came one day after the start of the 40-day Spring Festival peak travel season (Spring Transport), when 235 million passengers are expected to travel by train, most of them migrant workers and college students.

The three men, Zhang Yufei, Fu Zhidong and Tang Song, wrote an open letter to the ministry on Sunday, the first day of the Spring Transport. In the letter, they said that railway workers had refused help they requested on Oct 25 at the Fuyang Railway Station in Anhui province.

Fu Zhidong, who has walking difficulties, said in the letter that the "green passage" - a passageway for disabled people and emergency use - remained locked in the No 1 waiting room even though the check-in time had started, and he was told to move to No 3 waiting room for the check-in.

"It was really hard for me to get to the No 3 waiting room because we had to get across an overpass," Fu told the Beijing News. "I was almost crawling."

Fu said he asked for help from workers at the Fuyang Railway Station, but he was refused. His companion Zhang Yufei, who is also a disabled man, finally helped him get on the train.

Fu said in the open letter that the railway station should provide better service for the disabled, including having a special ticket counter, special elevator and green passage. He also suggested in the letter that people with walking difficulties should be checked in 20 minutes ahead of time to make sure that they could get on the train in time.

China Daily could not reach Fuyang railway station for comment on Tuesday.

Wang Jinlei, a disabled man in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan province, who had protested the inconvenience of the train in May, told China Daily on Tuesday that the railway should learn from airline authorities to provide more comprehensive service for the disabled.

"Most of the airplanes have spare wheelchairs, which can get through the narrow passages in the plane, but none of the trains have such spare wheelchairs, and disabled people with big wheelchairs cannot get through the narrow train passages," Wang said.

Huang Qifei, a publicity official at Beijing Railway Station, told China Daily on Tuesday that the station has more workers scheduled as well as up to 100 volunteers a day to provide better service for the disabled during the travel peak.

"The number of railway workers serving the disabled has increased from four to 13 since Spring Transport started," Huang said. "The green passages are also clearly marked, which should make them easy to be found by people with walking difficulties."

Huang said disabled people could ask the volunteers to wait in line to buy tickets for them in the railway station.

Yang Zhanqing, head of the Zhengzhou branch of the Yirenping, an anti-discrimination NGO, told China Daily on Tuesday that railway stations that have poor service for disabled people should be punished according to regulations.

"The rights of the disabled should not be neglected even though the number of disabled passengers is not large," Yang said.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: China Daily

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