With technical assistance and support from VNAH, the Vietnamese government has taken several critical steps toward improving transportation access for people with disabilities (PWDs). In the past several months, the government has addressed issues around bus service, motorbike regulations, and railroad service.
For two years, VNAH has worked with the Vietnam Ministry of Transportation (MOT) on implementing projects on accessible public transportation for PWDs. Most recently, on May 22, 2008, the Sai Gon bus company launched two new accessible bus routes in HCMC, adding to the three pilot routes previously in operation.
Also in May 2008, in cooperation with the National Coordinating Committee on Disability, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Health, and the MOT, VNAH organized a workshop on health regulations and standards for motorbike drivers with disabilities. During the workshop and in response to concerns from the disability community, the government agreed to a one-year postponement of a ban on three-wheel motorbikes. The government has also begun work on standards that will allow PWDs to apply for driver’s licenses.
With VNAH technical support, Vietnam Railway Corporation (VRC) has completed research on railway regulations with the purpose of making appropriate recommendations to MOT on an accessible railway system. To discuss the findings, a consultation workshop was organized with 30 transportation experts and PWDs in attendance. Participants agreed that the pilot plan to upgrade HCMC, Hanoi, Nha Trang, Hue, and Da Nang railway stations to be accessible should be implemented in the summer of 2008. VRC also plans to use US$63,000 allocated by the National Action Plan on Disability to manufacture an accessible rail car using the technical standards supported by VNAH.