Friday, January 28

Public transport must be for everyone

  • Bernt Reitan Jenssen

    Director, Ruter

This year’s Oslo citizen, Jan Grue, has said that he will use the award to settle with public transport.

What Amir Hashani and Jan Grue have experienced is discrimination.

This is a debate post. Opinions in the text are at the writer’s expense.

Routes cannot live with disabled people opting out of public transport because they face too many obstacles. We must offer sustainable freedom of movement – to everyone.

This year’s Oslo citizen, Jan Grue, will use the prize to settle with public transport. I’m happy for that!

In 2020, I met Amir Hashani. In the Debate on NRK, he said that as a wheelchair user he was often driven off the bus – because the bus ramp had got stuck or the ramp key was missing.

The meeting gave a new understanding: It is about something bigger than technical challenges. Equal access to transport contributes to equality and to evening out differences.

Ruter has worked to get as many people as possible where they are going, efficiently and environmentally friendly. From that perspective, we have succeeded. We are now expanding the perspective: Our services must work for everyone, regardless of functional level. Then we have a long way to go and must do something more radical than patching up a system where many fall outside.

What Hashani and Grue have experienced is discrimination. We must work with culture and awareness, in addition to technology and solutions, and we must become better at including those who experience exclusion on advice.

In 2021, Ruter started a project together with the Norwegian Handicap Association. We have investigated how disabled people experience public transport and worked with raising awareness and raising awareness. Managers and middle managers have been to workshops, for change starts at the top.

Jan Grue says that he does not get the help he needs. It is Ruter’s responsibility. In 2022, we will work closely with the bus companies, so that together we are stronger in the face of the diversity of customers.
We work with accessibility information in the Router app. The first buses with automatic ramps will be put into service on 9 January. The new electric boats are universally designed.

From 2021, increased freedom of movement for the disabled is one of Ruter’s most important strategic goals.

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