‘No bus would stop for me’: Indonesia’s motorcycle taxi addresses mobility needs of the disabled

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia: As a person stricken with polio since he was a toddler, Triyono knows firsthand how hard it is for people with disabilities in Indonesia to travel to school, work or seek medical attention.

“When I was at school, no bus would stop for me. Moving around is a hassle because the infrastructure is not friendly for differently abled people,” the 40-year-old, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told CNA.

According to the Indonesian Health Ministry, there are 3 million people with physical disabilities and 3.4 million visually impaired people.

These people constantly face challenges getting around as buses are not designed to accommodate them while pavements are often non-existent, shoddily built or encroached by private vehicles.

The only viable option is to use a taxi, which can be costly to disabled people who come from a poor background.

As a result, many do not go to school by the time they become too heavy to be carried around by their parents or siblings, hindering their chance of a formal employment.

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Many spend much of their teenage and adult life unable to venture beyond the confines of their homes.

“I thought to myself that there needs to be a mean of transportation catering to my friends who use wheelchairs so that they can move freely, be it from home to school, to the hospital or anywhere they choose without the need to get on and off their wheelchairs, which can be exhausting,” said Triyono.

Determined to change this, the entrepreneur who switches between using crutches and a wheelchair to move around, started Difa Bike, a motorcycle taxi service catering to people with disabilities in his native city of Yogyakarta in 2014.

Artmotion Asia

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