SEOUL, Feb. 18 (Korea Bizwire) — Civic groups representing people with disabilities are staging a series of protests at subway stations in Seoul, calling upon authorities to allocate sufficient funding for the promotion of disability rights, and amend legislation to improve access to public transportation.
The Solidarity Against Disability Discrimination (SADD) and other civic groups began staging a series of protests on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (Dec. 3), holding demonstrations that involved sticking a wheelchair in boarding gates at subway stations.
The protests are taking place during morning and evening rush hours, sparking frustration among commuters.
SADD’s official website was shut down following a cyber attack on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, the advocacy groups are carrying on their protests to promote the mobility rights of the disabled.
“We believed that time will soon guarantee our rights, but our rights that have been legally stipulated by society have never been secured,” said Park Kyung-seok, SADD’s executive director, to the public on board a subway train on Thursday.
“You can curse at us all you want, but you should at least say something about South Korean society that does not guarantee even the most basic, fundamental rights. We’ve waited long enough.”
The civic groups are calling upon the government to introduce a ‘one station, one route’ policy and roll out more low-floor buses.
The ‘one station, one route’ policy refers to the idea of creating a special mobility route for the disabled and senior citizens to move between the boarding gate and the turnstile without requiring special assistance.
City authorities responded that they will implement the policy at all 326 stations by 2024. There are currently 21 stations without mobility routes for the disabled.
But Seoul Metro, operator of the Seoul subway system, has been struggling with a deficit since 2020, raising doubts that elevators will be installed in all remaining stations within the next three years.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)