Kazakhstan wants taxi companies to run more handicap-accessible cars

The country’s government is trying to improve living conditions for people with disabilities

The lower house of the Kazakhstani parliament Mazhilis has approved a new draft law that is aimed at improving the abilities of people with special needs to go around the city when they want to. According to Elnur Beysenbayev, deputy of the Mazhilis, the new law requires taxi companies to have more invalid cars for people with disabilities.

“This draft law is suggesting one novelty. Now any taxi company has to have one invalid car per every ten vehicles in its fleet. So far, the current legislation requires taxi companies to have one handicap-accessible car per 30 regular vehicles. The only goal of this new rule is to make it easier for people with disabilities to get around,” he said.

Even though the government has always required taxi companies to think about clients with special needs, they often cheated and intentionally limited their fleets of just 29 cars. Now, the authorities are also going to update some rules linked to bus transportation; they want bus companies to adjust their vehicles for disabled people as well.

Moreover, according to the new draft law, there is no longer a word like “invalid”; it is going to be replaced with the term “disabled person.” These changes are going to be added to 75 regulatory acts, 11 codes and 64 laws.

In addition, state agencies responsible for social protection and healthcare as well as local executive bodies are required to develop and introduce in practice a mechanism of non-staff advisers on issues linked with people with disabilities for ministers, heads of districts, towns and cities. The draft law also requires that people with disabilities must be given priority in public health care facilities. Also, any person with disabilities (no matter what category he or she belongs to) can obtain notarial services free of charge.

“If someone is accompanying a child with disabilities during his or her health resort treatment, this person must be reimbursed costs for accommodation and food. This initiative is going to allow disabled children from low-income families living in remote areas to visit a resort. It is expected that at least 62,000 children will be able to get treatment in a resort with their parents or healthcare proxy over the coming three years,” said Beysenbayev.

So far, only the city of Nur-Sultan and the Karaganda and Pavlodar regions reimburse people for this type of cost.

The draft law will also guarantee a specific amount of medical services for free for foreigners, people with no nationality and victims of human trafficking.

All of these will require $13 million of public funds to cover expenditures over 2022-2024.

Kazakhstan is quite serious about pursuing the rights of disabled people. For instance, now the national legislation requires that political parties include young people (under the age of 29) and people with disabilities in their lists.

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