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27 July


Seoul to create a comfortable environment for people with disabilities

Buses will be equipped with special equipment, new jobs will appear

Photo: GettyImages

/NOVOSTIVL/ Seoul Metropolitan Government announced its second five-year plan to ensure the rights of disabled residents in the capital, Tuesday, four days ahead of April 20 Disabled People's Day in Korea. This article appeared in The Korea Times.

The plan follows the previous five-year plan from 2014 to 2018. According to this year's plan, the city will inject 890 billion won ($784 million) to make public transportation barrier-free, improve housing options and create more jobs for disabled citizens by 2023.

Currently, fewer than half of the buses in the city's public transport system are wheelchair-accessible. The city says it will switch the remaining buses to ones with automatic wheelchair ramps in five years. imilarly, some 26 subway stations in Seoul that still lack an elevator will have at least one by 2023.

In addition, 800 more public sector jobs will be created for disabled citizens. The city will also provide 15 more public housing units ― from the current 85 ― where two or three people with severe disabilities who leave large-scale institutions can stay for up to two years under the guidance of a social worker.

But some disability rights activists say the city's plans fall short of providing dignity to severely disabled persons who have little choice but to stay in large-scale congregate living facilities, usually accommodating about 30 to 100 people per facility according to 2017 city data.