Recently, on the boisterous streets of Ho Chi Minh City, a motorbike taxi group has been offering free transport for the disabled. The group’s members are young, from all social classes, and share a common goal: to help the disabled community.
The project is the brainchild of HCM City’s DRD (Disability Resource and Development) in co-operation with KOICA (Korea International Co-operation Agency) and helps handicapped citizens gain access to public transport.
The project possesses ten motorbike taxis each costs VND35 million (US$ 1,600) servicing the area. At present, the group consists of six members, two of them handicapped.
“The ten three-wheel motorbike taxis have been specially designed to ensure safety for the handicapped. They are supported with seat belts and a metal frame for hanging their wheelchairs. Certified helmets are also provided,” says Vo Thi Hoang Yen, director of the DRD.
One of the group’s volunteers, Pham Nhu Y, quit his job as an official to work full time for the group.
“I am only slightly handicapped, but I am able to drive a motorbike. I want to help those who are more disabled than me. So far, the clients have been happy with the motorbikes,” says Y.
“Previously, I was helped by a lot of people. Now it’s my turn to return the favour,” he adds.
Tran Minh Tri, another member of the group, immediately starts the engine after he receives a call from one of his customers. The customer, this time is blind and rents a house in a small alley in District 10.
Gently escorting the man to his motorbike, Tri fastens his seat bell and puts on his helmet. He is about to drive the man to a small clinic approximately 10km away.
“We are willing to transport and pick up handicapped people within a 15km radius. However, in cases of emergency, we will travel however far we need to help. The three-wheeled motorbike is far more convenient than a cab and easier to mount. The seat is comfortable, and there is space for crutches and wheelchairs,” says Tri.