Koreans with disabilities cried out to presidential candidates to pledge their support for disabled people’s rights on transportation.
This group (called Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination)’s protest has stopped the subway. The protest happened from December 20, 2021 to February 23, 2022 every morning. Why? Because March 9, 2022 was the 20th presidential election in Korea.
By putting the wheelchair wheels between the door and the screen door or repeatedly getting on and off the subway, the group of disabled people prevented the subway from leaving. They hold their pickets and moved stations to stations.
Disabled people targeted the morning rush hour on the weekdays.
Those who were heading to work, school, or any other places, had to wait 10 to 15 minutes until the group moved to the next station to keep protesting. Disabled people raised their voices demanding the government to establish policies and increase budget on transport rights of disabled people.
The population of the disabled people in Korea was about 2.5 million, which is 5% of the total population.* But, we rarely see them.
It is because they still have difficult time coming out of the house and taking public transportations.
* Data from Ministry of Health and Welfare (2020)
The entrance of many buses still has stairs
It says “Remove the killing machine!”
Randomly cut off guiding blocks, which are plates laid on the ground
to safely guide the visually impaired
A man riding a low floor bus
Like the examples above, there are so many obstacles that disabled people have to confront as they take a step outside of their house.
Out of all the buses across the nation, only 28.8% are a low floor bus. Other buses still have stairs at the entrance and the exit.
A wheelchair lift that’s supposed to help disabled people going up and down the stairs at subway stations are said to be dangerous: Many of them being outdated or too steep.
Even guiding blocks for blind people can sometimes lead into danger. Some of them are randomly disconnected and some “guide” to the roads.
Then, how can the disabled people transport?
They mainly use a taxi for disabled people (wheelchair accessible). It can be convenient, but they also have one problem: LONG waiting time. The report says people wait 60 ~ 90 mins on average. If the weather is not so good, the waiting time doubles or triples.
A taxi for people with disabilities
But the government is trying with the policies…
Although Korea has a long way to go, the government tries to establish new policies or reform outdated policies related to rights of disabled people on transport by expanding the number of low level buses, shortening the waiting time for a taxi, and more.
???? “Can a blind person ride a bus? Social experiment”
Below is a video of Hansol, a Korean YouTuber with vision impairment. He posts videos about his daily life as a blind man. If you are curious about how people with disabilities live in Korea, we recommend you to watch his videos!
Youtube : OneshotHansol
???? Discussion for Today’s Topic :
Do you think the Koreans with disabilities’ such protest on the subway was adequate?
Feel free to share your opinion with us. ????