Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Global Future Cities Progamme (GFCP) Bandung resilience team successfully conducted a series of virtual Focus Group Discussions that took place in May and June 2021, with representatives from vulnerable groups in Bandung City, including children, women, people with disabilities, and the elderly.
The discussions were insightful and captured the needs and ambitions of vulnerable groups in terms of their expectations of public transportation and as road users. The team ensured that the input gathered on gender and inclusion were considered in the proposed routes, as part of the Project participatory approach. The discussions were held separately for each group, starting with representatives of children, women, the elderly, and finally people with disabilities. Each online session was attended by 8 to 15 representatives who actively participated in the conversation.
Virtual Focus Group Discussion with Vulnerable Groups in Bandung, Indonesia
The team categorized the discussion into three topics - proposed shelter improvement, proposed fleets upgrade and passenger information system plans. The participants raised several concerns, as a result of their experiences utilising public transportation, including their perceptions of the current state of the public transportation infrastructure in Bandung and accessibility challenges. These issues raised were considered as valuable inputs for the proposed improvement.
The proposed shelter's placement in the neighborhood, the present and proposed fleet designs, and the accessibility of the proposed passenger information system are all highlighted in the discussions.
The safety of the surrounding shelter in the neighborhood is a top priority. Having a police officer patrol the area and the use video surveillance were suggested. Another topic that came up throughout the conversation was the need for a clean shelter environment. Many shelters nowadays, according to attendees, are unclean and unkempt. Other factors to consider for the shelter include the use of sustainable materials owing to the shelter's sturdiness, as well as access provisions such as wheelchair access, tactile pavement, and any other accessible infrastructures for people with disabilities (PwDs).
Concerns on Angkot/Bus fleet condition are unanimous among the vulnerable groups. The issue of safety, a clean environment, and accessibility for all, including the elderly, people with disabilities, pregnant women, and women traveling with young children were raised and well noted by the team.
Majority of the participants agree that the passenger information system helps to encourage people to use public transportation. The key information that passengers expect are the shelter location, fares, timetables, and routes. It is easier to encourage locals to switch to public transportation when they can rely on its services. Web and application-based information is the most desired when digital information development progresses. Accessible digital information development should also be included inside the improvement plans. The information system must consider the accessibility element by providing audio and visual information for people with disabilities, as well as children and the elderly, at shelters and Angkot/Bus fleets.
These discussions will be used to ensure that the planned improvements to develop sustainable and inclusive public transportation services in Bandung consider the needs of vulnerable groups.