Ease of transport? Vasav Desai wants to make a more accessible and equitable world for all

Written by Cyril Jones

Public transportation may be considered a convenience for many around the world, but that isn’t always the case, especially when those trying to board are less abled or handicapped. In America alone, over 61 million adults live with a disability. 61 million adults who require assistance to take public transportation. How accessible is public transportation for those who cannot see or require wheelchair assistance?

That’s where Vasav comes in. Vasav Desai has always had a keen eye for assistive technology, born out of his desire to help others. He discovered that public transportation isn’t all that accessible, especially for those living with disabilities.

“There are so many things in life that we take for granted, public transportation is one of them,” he shares, noting that disabilities are a barrier for less able bodied people to take public transportation.

“When you can see and walk without assistance, you become blind to how accessible something really is because you haven’t had to experience difficulties yourself,” Vasav explains when asked why he installed wheelchair-friendly elevators equipped with braille numbering in one of NYC’s busiest train stations.

“It is important to equip all public transportation with aid for the visually-impaired and those who are wheelchair bound because it is hard enough for them to get around, why make it harder?” Vasav may not have first hand experience, but he has spoken to many disabled people in regards to how they feel about the public transportation in their country.

He shares how heartbreaking it is when he encounters differently-abled people and their unwillingness to take public transportation because they have met with difficulties that prevent them from enjoying the very basic human right of ease of travel.

Isabelle Clement, a wheelchair-bound advocate for those like her, shared with Forbes how anxiety-filled something as simple as taking a train can be for people who require a wheelchair. Getting on a train itself is a hurdle of epic proportions because not all staff are trained on how to deal with a wheelchair-bound passenger, how they are able to coordinate a wheelchair ramp and ensure that their passenger is able to board the train safely and effectively.

But thanks to people like Vasav, the freedom of mobility is being paved, one ADA-compliant Transit elevator at a time. His goal is to create Omni present accessibility throughout the transit system for people with disability in New York City & New York State, a feat that is only a small example of what he is doing to help those people in need.

It is his personal mission to make sure that the world is just as accessible to everyone and not just those who are without disabilities. One out of every four Americans are living with a disability, some are born with disabilities, while some are disabled due to injury or illness, and they have to navigate a world that really isn’t that accommodating to them, but Vasav will change that and we can expect to see greater things from him in the future.