People who use a wheelchair in Moldova need to pass through many challenges, such as exiting an apartment block, crossing the street, using the public transport and even taxis.
Alexandru Cebotari was born paralyzed. For him, the trip to the other side of the city is a true quest, as well as to other people with special needs:
"- Greetings, my name is Elena.
- Greeting, I am called Olga.
- Yes hello. I need a taxi to Valea Morilor Park, toward the Center, but I must warn you, I use a wheelchair and will requite a properly equipped car, if you have one."
Such vehicles have ramps, straps for the wheels and a special serpentine belt. Such request usually confuse people working in the call center:
"- What do you mean properly equipped?
- I need it to have a ramp.
- Sorry, we don't have any."
"- I am sorry but I don't understand. What sort of car do you need?
- I need a car that has ramps.
- I am sorry but we do not own such cars."
Cars with ramps lacked in another two taxi companies as well. In the end, Alexandru was suggested to use a universal car.
"If my wheelchair can be folded I can use a universal car. People who have big wheelchairs or electronic ones have more of an issue, as even that variant is crossed out" Alexandru explained.
Administrators of taxi companies claim that they lack such cars because they are a few times more expensive: "If we pay for a simple car close to 10 000 Euro, then a car for disabled people is over 20 000. We previously tried to purchase one, but the expenses were to big."
Despite the law obligating administrators of taxi companies to have at least one mobility car for disabled people, it does not states any sanctions for its breach.
"The law does not state it clearly. Sanctions are only imposed after the call centers are investigated" deputy chief of Transport Control Department, Veaceslav Balteanco said.
In Moldova live over 179 000 people with disabilities, among whom 15 000 are paralyzed.