TRANSPORTING THE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED IN BENIN-CITY, NIGERIA
The study investigated the role of public transport in meeting the transport needs of the physically challenged persons in Benin City. It examined the trip patterns and accessibility barriers encountered by these specialized group of people in the use of existing public road transport infrastructure and services. The concept of transport equity was used to anchor the study. Data for the study were obtained from primary and secondary sources and a snowball sampling technique was used to approach 157 crippled and 69 blind respondents in three core Local Government Areas of Benin City. Data obtained were quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed using Pearson Product. Moment correlation to test the hypothesis of the study at 0.01% significance level. Findings based on the perception of the physically challenged (crippled and blind) respectively, revealed a gross transport disequity in the areas of infrastructure design.(bad roads,64.3% and 84.1%), and service accessibility(poor terminal facilities,91% and 90%);unaffordable transport fares administration,(63% and 57%); prolonged waiting time at bus-stops and unfriendly attitude of public road transport staff among other factors. The study advocated the protection of the rights of the physically challenged to unhindered mobility by the removal of accessibility barriers both physically and structurally. It also recommended a more humane treatment from the transport service staffers.
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