During the pandemic period, TCDD, which took the step taken to take away the free transportation right of the disabled on the High Speed Train (YHT) and main line train services, put into effect a scandalous practice in the meantime. It was revealed that TCDD imposed a quota limit of 14 percent for the disabled who use the High Speed Train lines free of charge.
It was learned that TCDD General Directorate, which took away the free transportation rights granted by the law for the disabled people on High Speed Train and other intercity trains, but took a step back due to the reactions, started a "secret quota" application to restrict the free travel of the disabled. According to the quota practice implemented by TCDD without disclosing it to the public, only 400 persons with disabilities were granted free travel rights on trains of 8 persons and only 600 persons with disabilities on trains of 10 persons. In the presence of TCDD 226 quota avoid disclosing the rights of the disabled in Turkey consisting of associations of persons with disabilities Transportation has announced the Rights Platform.
Utku Çakırözer, Deputy of CHP Eskişehir, brought the "secret quota" to the agenda of the Assembly to the fair Karaismailoğlu and the Minister of Family, Labor and Social Services Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, "Are you aware of this illegal quota practice? Are you going to start an investigation against those who made this illegal practice? " asked.
Scandal Application: Disabled Person's Secret Ban
During the pandemic period, TCDD took away the free transportation rights of the disabled on the High Speed Train and main line train services, and gave up this practice after the reactions of non-governmental organizations and political parties. In the past month, the General Directorate of TCDD has implemented a new scandal. It was revealed that TCDD imposed a quota limitation for people with disabilities who can use the High Speed Train lines free of charge. The General Directorate of TCDD brought a quota ranging from 400 to 600 seats for the disabled on the 8-10-person capacity train sets. TCDD management wanted the restrictions on the disabled to be kept secret. In the center, in the provinces, an instruction was given not to make a statement on this issue.
Associations Revealed the Secret Quota
It was learned that TCDD wanted the quota practice, which was initiated against the law numbered 4736, which regulates the free travel right of the disabled on trains, to be kept secret. However, the existence of a secret quota was revealed by non-governmental organizations fighting for the rights of the disabled. TCDD officials, who initially answered 'There is no such a quota' to the applications of the Platform for the Rights of People with Disabilities, which consists of 226 associations, had to verify the existence of the quota after the associations showed the documents they had. In the press release made on behalf of the platform, they said, "TCDD did not exist first, when we showed our evidence, they said 'we put 14 percent quota". According to our determination, 4 percent per train. They set the quota as 8-10 seats for each train, even if it is 4 percent or 14, it is clearly against the law regulating the free travel of the disabled. Extraordinary measures can be taken under extraordinary circumstances, but this must be done by talking to us who benefit from these rights. TCDD neither met with us nor announced its decisions to the public. "This is against the principle of equality first and is a violation of the prohibition of discrimination."
Çakırözer: TCDD Publicly Commits a Crime
Çakırözer reacted to the new restriction imposed by the TCDD General Directorate on the right of disabled citizens to free transportation. Çakırözer said, “This is the restriction of the freedom of travel guaranteed by our Constitution. It is against the law numbered 4736 which regulates the free transportation right of the disabled. According to Article 122 of the TCK, it is a crime because it prevents a person from using a certain service offered to the public due to disability. Of course, it is a violation of the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. "This unlawful and criminal restriction should be ended immediately."
Çakırözer pointed out that a significant portion of the disabled citizens use YHT and other intercity train services for health reasons, and drew attention that the restriction prevents access to healthcare services. Çakırözer said, “Our disabled citizens are traveling from Eskişehir to Konya and Ankara to Istanbul in order to receive health services or to complete their education. Now, this scandalous quota application of TCDD will prevent millions of our disabled people from free travel. It will also prevent disabled people from accessing treatment and education, ”he said.
Moved to Parliament, Asking Two Ministers
Çakırözer, who brought the TCDD's regulation that abolishes the free travel right of the disabled to the agenda of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, gave parliamentary questions with the request of the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoğlu and the Minister of Family Labor and Social Policies Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk to be answered. Çakırözer asked the ministers for answers to the following questions:
- “Are you aware of the practice of imposing quota restrictions on our disabled citizens who are entitled to free travel on High Speed Train and other intercity passenger train services?
- Was this decision taken at the direction of the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure?
- Has the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services, responsible for disability rights, approved this decision?
- If the decision to impose quotas on free transportation for disabled people is correct, what is the legal basis? Isn't the introduction of this restriction without making changes in Law No. 4736, which gives disabled people the right to free transportation in urban and intercity trains, is not a clear violation of the law?
- Isn't the same restriction contrary to the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities?
- Why was the decision not made public? Why are passengers not informed about TCDD booths and online sales?
- Is it true that 'this application should be kept confidential' instruction was sent to the toll booths and Passenger Services directorates in the provinces, and the staff were advised not to inform disabled passengers?
- Are the allegations that TCDD General Directorate initiated this illegal practice with the excuse of “we cannot earn enough money because of the disabled, even we are going towards loss” are true?
- Will the Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services initiate an action to remove this unlawful practice?
- Do you intend to launch any investigation against those who committed this illegal practice? ”