By Benjamin Alade
A recent study on transportation has described as unfair, the transport infrastructure in the country, to passengers with disabilities.
The study, titled: ‘Transportation satisfaction of disabled passengers: Evidence from a developing country’, showed that the system has no provision for those living with disabilities.
It, however, stated that transportation and mobility play key roles in ensuring equal opportunity for such individuals. Affordable, accessible and reliable transportation allows people with disabilities to access important opportunities in education, employment and social activity.
The study revealed that many individuals with disabilities have been denied these opportunities, and many have been left behind because the existing transport infrastructure does not cater to their needs. It stated that persons with disabilities are also more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes, such as a lower level of education, lower levels of employment and poverty.
The study, which was authored by Dr Emmanuel Mogaji and Nguyen Phong Nguyen, revealed that the research sought to qualitatively understand the moods, emotions, and cognitive judgments of passengers with disability travel experiences.
Mogaji, a Senior Lecturer in Advertising and Marketing Communications, Events and Tourism at the University of Greenwich, London, told The Guardian that governments and the global community are making an effort to close this inequality gap in access to transportation, with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) promoting the full integration of persons with disabilities into societies.
While efforts are being made in the developed world due to the advanced infrastructure and financial capability, he said disparity and inequality remain especially pronounced in developing countries, where disabled commuters are facing various additional problems resulting from insufficient transport infrastructure, insufficient funding for transport facilities, poorly built environment and a lack of affordability or subsidies for individual journeys.
Mogaji said the lack of transportation infrastructure in Nigeria has forced many of the participants to adjust how they travel and their travel behaviour.
“Some choose not to go to work or social gatherings or engage in other travel activities because they do not feel safe, and the available modes of transport do not support them,” he said.
He said for those who choose to engage in travel activities, are often faced with challenges related to navigation and being insulted by transport operators and other commuters, who ignore their need for accessible transport. These experiences formed the basis for their evaluation of travel satisfaction.
He added that these experiences were expressed internally and externally.
“Internally, the participants are worried and anxious. While they may control and internalise their mood, their emotions, in the form of anger and frustration towards the level of transportation being provided, are externally visible. Based on these internal and external expressions, their level of satisfaction is established.
“Our empirical results also have a number of managerial implications for transport operators, built-environment developers, charity organisations working with disabled individuals and policymakers and governments responsible for infrastructure development.”
He said transport operators need to recognise the needs of disabled customers and be inclusive in their service delivery.