‘Am I hindering others?’: The fears and anxieties of taking the bus after becoming a wheelchair user


Due to the need for help with the ramp, it is also a constant concern for new wheelchair users to hold up the rope.

When Chong started using a wheelchair, he stood in the usual bus queue, unaware that there was a priority queue. He would also worry about keeping up the line – something he was never self-aware of before becoming a wheelchair user.

“From queuing together in line with everyone else, right now if you are a wheelchair user, you have to queue separately where there is better visibility for you to flag down the bus,” he said.

“And there is the realization that because of the process of having to board the wheelchair user first, you might think, ‘I’m waiting for people’s time because everyone has to wait for me to board first, and the bus captain has to do another job to put out the ramp. and help me get on board. ‘ … It is something that pretty much everyone will experience if you have an acquired disability. ”

But these feelings are something Chong hopes can help wheelchair users move on from.

“The only way to overcome (these worries) is to train more, board (a bus) more often, and then you realize that people do not care. They actually do well. Self-awareness will work, but it can also be overcome. , he said.

To build the course participants’ confidence, Chong also gives them other tips for a smoother journey, such as planning ahead, from knowing which stop to get off at to finding out if the buses are wheelchair accessible.

If commuters are already boarding the bus when the wheelchair user has reached the bus stop, Chong said they can press the wheelchair’s push button on the side of the back door. This warns the driver that there is a wheelchair user who wants to board the bus.


Participants told CNA that such information benefited them.

Even a more confident wheelchair user such as 55-year-old Taufik Omar, who went by public transport for the first time earlier this year, said that the course helped him discover wheelchair-adapted functions that he had not noticed before.

Ms Nooraini Manaf, who is Mr Wong’s wife and full-time caregiver, also attended the course with her husband. She expressed her husband’s concern that no one would help him board the bus.

“The course gives him the insight that the bus captains know how to help people with disabilities. He also gets the opportunity to try boarding a bus alone, while in real circumstances he may doubt himself. He does not have the confidence, she said.

But the course was also for Nooraini, as it gave her “peace of mind” that someone would look after her husband if he went out alone.

“(People with disabilities) are just like any other people. Despite what they have lost, they have the right to go and complete what they want. With (courses) like this, it will give them a better quality of life,” she said.

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