A case filed by four wheelchair users and equal opportunities center Unia against public transport company De Lijn will be presented before the civil court in Mechelen on Tuesday. The wheelchair users believe that they are being discriminated against and ask that De Lijn set up a complaints committee and equip all buses with the necessary materials to allow wheelchair users to board.
The four wheelchair users have three recurring complaints: not every bus has the right equipment to use the ramp, many drivers do not know how to operate the ramp and drivers often refuse to take wheelchair users with them: they do not say time. to allow wheelchair users to board.
“We have had very long discussions about this with De Lijn, but they send us from pillar to post,” says master Johan Heymans, who is assisting the wheelchair users and Unia in the procedure. “We always get a nice explanation, with Powerpoint presentations and agreements made, but the theory does not match practice. Since the summons, the four wheelchair users have reported four new incidents, a total of seventeen incidents involving these four people. Many incidents are simply not reported because the reporting procedure requires a lot of work and many people are not assertive enough to do so.”
During their consultation with De Lijn, the wheelchair users proposed setting up a complaints committee. “When introducing this file in February, Minister Peeters announced that she wanted a complaints committee, but we are now many months later and still nothing has happened. We are now specifically asking for compensation, the establishment of a complaints committee and that action be taken so that every bus from now on has the correct material,” Heymans concludes.
“We pay a lot of attention to accessibility,” says De Lijn spokesperson Frederik Wittock in a response to Belga. “It is included in our driving school training, and we continue to pay attention to it further in the career of our drivers. As an organization, we also want to do everything we can to ensure that our partners, including cities and municipalities, contribute to the largest possible number of accessible stops. We are actively asking for an accessibility charter, it is a permanent point of attention for us.”
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