People with disabilities in South Africa enjoy limited access to transport. Approximately half of all South Africans are captive to public transport, of which minibus-taxis, commuter buses, and commuter rail are the main modes. None of these operators have given much attention to the accessibility of their vehicles and facilities. A very small percentage of people with disabilities can afford private vehicles with adaptive devices. Existing accessible transport services are mostly in the form of social service transport provided by service organizations for their members, and small-scale demonstration projects sponsored by government. These projects have experimented with demand responsive and fixed-route concepts for the provision of accessible public transport.
The momentum is however building for significantly improving the status of people with disabilities in South African society. The disability movement is fairly vocal and has political influence. Non-discrimination legislation exists, and is gradually being applied to the transport and built environment arenas. Significant opportunities for improving the accessibility of public transport are expected to realize in the next decade, as major upgrading and recapitalisation projects of the public transport system are undertaken.