wheelchair travel 521.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A wheelchair-bound woman is to receive NIS 50,000 in damages from the Metrodan
Public Transport Company, after the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court ruled last week
that the bus drivers’ refusal to allow her access several times was illegal, the
National Commission for People with Disabilities announced on
According to the information provided by the Justice Ministry,
which oversees the commission, wheelchair-bound Efrat Vaknin turned to the
commission last year after being refused access several times to public buses
run by Metrodan around Beersheba.
Working on the basis of a 1998 law
demanding equal treatment of people with disabilities in all spheres of Israeli
society, the commission submitted a petition to the court pointing out Vaknin’s
right to accessibility on public city buses.
As part of its compromise
with Vaknin, the company agreed to award her NIS 50,000. In addition, the bus
company, which advertises wheelchair accessibility on its website, also
committed to improving its services for people with disabilities, and to
providing ongoing training to bus drivers on how to improve its work with this
group of people.
The company also said it would follow up to ensure that
drivers treat people with disabilities better.
Ahiya Kamara, the Justice
Ministry’s commissioner for Equal Rights of People with Disabilities, said:
“Most city buses in Israel are already accessible to people in wheelchairs. Many
times, however, the barriers are created by the bus drivers themselves who have
to open the doors for the people with disabilities, and allow them to use public
transport like everyone else.”
“This ruling is very important because it
will have an impact on other public bus drivers, and raise awareness among the
public to include people with disabilities into every area of life,” Kamara