Travel is for everyone. With undertones of this theme, Gurgaon’s Rapid Metro recently ran a special ride for people with disabilities. The Entertainment Express ride was loaded with inspiring talks, bouts of laughter and singing. For some, it was their first metro ride. For many others, one that highlighted the importance of inclusive travel.
Wheelchair user Chandra Rama Rao from Noida says the experience was “nice”. The 70-year-old adds: “This is was my first metro ride. There weren’t many people... I’ll now go on a regular metro ride to experience that too. The stations (start and end) must be wheelchair friendly.”
Delhi’s Pranav Lal, who was happy to explore metro facilities, says: “There’s an intercom that connects you with the driver, in case of an emergency. I’m told that metro has assistance services, but I’m not aware how to book them. It may be readily available. But the data on how to avail the service isn’t there.”
Rahul Rawal, a corporate professional, echoed the same: “I boarded the metro after nine years, and it was a fun ride. Right now, it gives you fifteen seconds to get in or out. I couldn’t even think about taking the metro with a huge crowd, while being on a wheelchair. But I’ve heard there are provisions for assistance. I’ll try that.”
During the one-hour ride, stand up comedian Prakhar Pramod tickled the passengers’ funny bone with jokes, while Mudit Sharma’s singing got everyone to sing along.
Neha Arora, organiser, says she wanted to encourage people to come out. “We wanted to break the barrier, and get people together. We thought we’ll have an entertaining ride in the metro while also creating awareness about accessible travel. It’s about inclusion and everyone travelling together, whether one has a disability or not. Despite the metro being an accessible mode of transport, not many people with disability use it. The purpose was to make them aware that things are possible.”