The Hino Poncho recently was introduced to Persons With Disability (PWD) in Johor where it is on a trial run. The test ride with PWD passengers was done in collaboration with Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and Handal Indah Sdn Bhd. The PWD passengers representing Persatuan Sokongan Orang Kurang Upaya Johor Bahru were given a ride in the Poncho from Johor Bahru Sentral to Pandan bus stop.
This was an opportunity for Hino Motors Sales (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd to introduce the Poncho mini bus as a viable mode of public transportation that has PWD-friendly features. The Hino Poncho is a compact bus measuring seven metres, giving it great manoeuvrability in congested urban areas.
The Poncho has a low floor and is equipped with features designed to benefit PWDs, senior citizens as well as children. It is designed with a height adjusting system that can lower the Poncho’s height by 50 mm to enhance accessibility at bus stops. The low-floor system allows for the lowest step of the mini bus to be nearly as low as the ground. When it goes into operation, the Poncho will be the first of its kind in Malaysia with such capability.
Handal Indah operates the Causeway Link bus service and is one of the largest bus providers in Johor. The Poncho trial run was done along route 10B which covers JB City, Pelangi, Sentosa, Pandan, Taman Daya, and Taman Setia Indah.
For Mohd Saiful Razali who is from Jabatan Belia & Sukan Negeri Johor, it was his first ride on the Hino Poncho. According to him, the low-floor feature makes it easy for him to board the mini bus. Mohd Saiful is visually impaired.
Also sharing a positive experience is Ermy Jeffry Jamil from Jabatan Tenaga Kerja Negeri Johor. Ermy, who is wheelchair-bound found the low floor with slide ramp easy to use and gives him the confidence to get on and off independently.
Currently, there are more than 2,000 HINO Ponchos plying the busy cities and narrow roads in Japan. It is designed to serve as an innovative community transport solution and to cater to the first and last-mile travel for commuters.