A pilot project has been launched to provide transport support services for people with disabilities in Ho Chi Minh City.

The service will be carried out by the city's Disabilities Research and Capacity Development Centre (DRD), in cooperation with the Korean Human Rights Forum of Persons with Disabilities in Jeju, the Republic of Korea (RoK).

With total capital of more than 108,000 USD funded by the RoK’s International Cooperation Agency, the project will last through 2014.

People with disabilities will be picked up in the city's inner districts for free until the end of the year, and then will pay a low fee next year, Luong Thi Quynh Lan, manager of the DRD's project.

HCM City has nearly 40,000 people with disabilities, Lan said, adding that their traveling demand is very high.

Vo Thi Hoang Yen, the DRD's head, said that only 117 city buses have low or semi-low floors that could help people with disabilities, especially wheelchair users.

About 4,000 buses operate in the city, according to a report of the National Coordinating Council on Disability in Vietnam issued last year.

Transportation difficulties have limited the disabled to take part in school, work and social activities, which are guaranteed under law.

Of the 13 million of people with disabilities in the country, nearly 40 percent are illiterate, she said, adding that only 10 percent of them have stable jobs.

Yen said she hopes the State and other organisations and companies will provide the project with funds so that it can continue for a long time.

Yang Won Tae, chairman of the Korean Human Rights Forum of Persons With Disabilities, said the RoK wants to contribute to helping people with disabilities in Vietnam.

He said the forum will continue to mobilise support from other organisations and companies in the RoK, he said.

The service, which is the first of its kind in the country, has a hotline number, 0935244123. People who want to use the service must call the hotline and register.-VNA