DISCUSSION ON ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORTATION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Accessible traffic has been evolving in numerous countries around the world, with an increasingly civilized, polite, safe, and convenient transportation system, wishing to satisfy the travel needs of everyone in society, including persons with disabilities. In Vietnam, ensuring traffic access for persons with disabilities is permanently a matter of concern to the Party and State with specific policies, programs, and projects. However, the policies related to traffic access are not truly adequate, some regulations have not been implemented and effectively applied in practice so far. This invisible medium has become a barrier leading to persons with disabilities having considerable difficulties in participating in traffic.
The current status of the 2010 Law on Persons with Disabilities provisions
Given the importance of accessible transport for the full and inclusive participation in the social life of persons with disabilities, Article 9 of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) requires States Parties “shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications…both in urban and in rural areas” to remove all obstacles and barriers to access for persons with disabilities. The requirement of the CRPD has been the member states, in which Viet Nam can turn on the legal system at different levels.
In Viet Nam, the policy on ensuring access to transportation for persons with disabilities was stipulated in the 2010 Law on Persons with Disabilities - the original Act on Persons with Disabilities. In certain, the 2010 Law on Persons with Disabilities has specific provisions on ensuring minimum standards for ensuring access to public transportation (Article 41, Article 42) such as: Permitted to operate personal transportation following the type of disability of persons with disabilities; Priority purchase of tickets, assistance, convenient seating arrangements; Carrying and free of charge when carrying appropriate vehicles and support equipment; Public transportation must have priority places for persons with disabilities; Convenient up and down support tools or assistance suitable for the characteristics of persons with disabilities; Public transportation meeting the national technical standards for accessible transportation shall be exempted and reduced following the law on taxes on production, importation, etc.
However, in comparison with the CRPD's provisions, the current policy on ensuring access to traffic for persons with disabilities in the 2010 Law on Persons with Disabilities is not fully compatible with Article 9 of the CRPD. In certain, the current Law on Disabilities only applies the principle of access to traffic within a narrow range. Article 42 only regulates issues related to public transport to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities. Regulations on issues related to ensuring technical requirements and traffic safety of traffic infrastructure ensure conditions for persons with disabilities to access and use, especially for infrastructure such as sidewalks, sections of roads, overpasses, tunnels, etc are still lacking.
Meanwhile, legal studies by several countries in Southeast Asia show that many countries have developed separate regulations on access to traffic to ensure access to people with disabilities with a wide range of and compatible with the CRPD. For example:
While studying the legal regulations of several countries in Southeast Asia shows that considerable countries have developed separate legal regulations on traffic access to ensure accessibility with a wide range of and compatibility with the CRPD. For instance:
In the Philippines, following the 4.2 IRR of BP 344 (Batas Pambansa Blg. 344 - An Act to enhance the mobility of disabled persons by requiring certain buildings, institutions, establishments and public utilities to install facilities and other devices) have mandatory provisions: (i) Streets, highways, and transport related structures shall be provided with the following barrier-free facilities and accessibility features at every pedestrian crossing; (ii) transportation terminals and passenger waiting for areas for use of disabled person; (iii) audio-visual aids for crossing; (iv) Ensure the number of seats and audio-visual aids on public transportation for disabled persons.
In Malaysia, Clause 1, Article 27 of the 2008 Law on Persons with Disabilities stipulates: “Persons with disabilities have the right to participate in and use public transport, amenities, and services that are open or available to the public on an equal basis with others”. Simultaneously, Clause 2, Article 27 of this Law, also stipulates: “For Clause 1, the Government, and suppliers of public transport facilities, amenities, and services shall give appropriate consideration and take necessary measures to ensure that such facilities, amenities and services are consistent with the universal design to facilitate access and use by persons with disabilities”.
In Indonesia, the Ministry of Transport issued Decree 71 in 1999 on the accessibility of persons with disabilities to vehicles and infrastructure, which detailed the issue of accessibility through devices. master design, and general construction system.
This demonstrates that, in contrast to Viet Nam, which has mandatory regulations covering transportation, equipment, and facilities for persons with disabilities, the aforementioned nations have specific regulations on the right to participate in the use of public transportation by persons with disabilities in a wider range. Viet Nam can use these regulations as a guide to enhance its laws and policies in this field.
Some limitations and obstacles in the practice of applying the law
The gap in the current Law on People with Disabilities on accessibility has led to some limitations and obstacles in the implementation and application of legal provisions in practice:
Regarding the road transportation domain: Although the National Technical Standard 10:2014/BXD for the work construction to ensure the access of persons with disabilities was issued on December 29, 2014, only a small number of traffic and sidewalks have been built according to the standards so far. Most sidewalks do not have guideways or paving slabs, and pavement quality are poor, bumpy, and even occupied as a place for motorbikes or stores. Bus stations and bus stops have not been designed synchronously according to standards, but almost take advantage of the actual terrain of each location to design and build stops and waiting areas. Only 30% of the total 457 bus stations ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities, and only 478 public buses (accounting for about 4.8% of public transport) ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities, mainly low-ground buses . In Hanoi alone, there are 584 buses with wheelchair-accessible locations, 243 vehicles with wheelchair-accessible lifts, and 159 buses with an in-car stop notification system with LED connections to the audio stop notification system and the onboard surveillance camera . Especially for persons with hearing and speaking disabilities, also encounter some difficulties in using public transport due to the lack of sign language at stations and airports, and the lack of staff to assist in buying tickets or boarding and getting off the vehicle .
Regarding the aviation domain: The whole country has 22 civil airports in operation and exploitation, including 10 international airports and 12 domestic airports . Presently, only 10/22 airports have wheelchair lift trucks , mainly major airports such as Nội Bài, Đà Nẵng, Nha Trang, Hồ Chí Minh, Phú Quốc, Cần Thơ, etc. Some airports do not have special service equipment, thus passengers have to sign a disclaimer agreement, in which they can not complain and can not claim compensation if the risk occurs. In addition, there are still airlines that require passengers to sign a disclaimer agreement even though passengers transfer from airports with special support services. Regarding the infrastructure in the airport, at present, all airport ports do not have floating paving slabs for persons with disabilities and contrasting colour markings to guide people with low vision ...
With the above situation, persons with disabilities still face difficulties in accessing public transport due to limited infrastructure, equipment and support staff. This has also led to another limitation: although Vietnam has policies to exempt and reduce ticket prices for persons with severe and especially severe disabilities, it has not yet created the motivation for them to participate in comprehensive transportation.
From the above analysis, for transport to ensure access to persons with disabilities, regulations related to public transportation and participation in the 2010 Law on Persons with Disabilities should be revised and supplemented as follows:
Firstly, consider adding a new article or adding to Article 42 of the Law on Persons with Disabilities 2010 the content of the policy on "Ensure technical requirements and traffic safety, traffic infrastructure for persons with disabilities" to be compatible with the CRPD regulations as well as with the current legal regulations of Vietnam. For example, it is possible to consider "legalising" the operation of assistance to access and participate in traffic mentioned in Clause 6, Section II, Article 1 of Decision No. 1190/QD-TTg in 2020 on approval of the Persons with disabilities Assistance Program in the 2021-2030 period, including regulations on developing and promulgating the traffic criteria universal access to the transport system, with particular attention being delivered to ensuring access to infrastructure and transportation for persons with disabilities.
Second, supplement Clause 5 of Article 42 of the 2010 Law on Persons with Disabilities to the Government's mandate to provide detailed regulations on traffic participation of persons with disabilities. These include: (i) Strengthening training on the dissemination of regulations, standards for construction and access; (ii) Strengthening the propagation and dissemination of legal regulations relating to the rights of persons with disabilities and preferential treatment for transportation service enterprises.
Therefore, for persons with disabilities themselves to be confident, actively engage in public transport, and soon integrated into the community, specific policies are urgently required under the Law on Persons with Disabilities to remove barriers to public transportation for persons with disabilities. This lays the groundwork for assuring and encouraging possibilities for persons with disabilities to get out, work, go to school, find a job, and have a stable income in their everyday life./.
https://www.ncda.gov.ph/disability-laws/implementing-rules-and-regulations-irr/irr-of-bp-344/, accessed date: August 15, 2022.
 Lê Xuân Trọng (2019), Report on the implementation of the Law on Persons with Disabilities in the field of public transport in Vietnam, Institute of Transport Strategy and Development, Hanoi, p.11.
 Vietnam National Committee for Persons with Disabilities (2019), Report on Working Results on People with Disabilities 2019, Hanoi.
 Interview with Mr Phan Ngoc Viet, a person with hearing and speaking disabilities, Deputy Head of the Campaign Committee to establish the Vietnam Deaf Association on September 18, 2019
 Vietnam Federation on Disability (2020), Independent report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Vietnam, Hanoi, p.21.
 Ta Lu - Anh Tu, Vietnam's airport network, see:
https://vnexpress.net/mang-luoi-san-bay-cua-viet-nam-4013424.html, accessed date: 18 November 2019.
 Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (2020), Report on the results of the implementation of the Project on assisting persons with disabilities for the period 2012 - 2020, p.17.
 Vietnam Federation on Disability (2020), p.21.