Railways on track in enhancing accessibility as new European rules are adopted
18 November 2014 • Author: The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies
The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) welcomes the adoption of new technical requirements to improve train travel for persons with reduced mobility and disabled persons. Together with appropriate funding to secure a sustainable business environment for the rail sector, the new rules will help the rail sector in its continued promotion of accessibility.
More concretely, the European Commission today adopted revised technical specifications for interoperability for persons with reduced mobility (TSI PRM), after a fruitful consultation and drafting process involving passenger associations and railways.
The TSI PRM provides measures applicable to stations and trains aimed at enhancing transport conditions for persons with disabilities. The revised version extends the accessibility rules from new to existing stations and will give Member States the possibility to prioritise their construction works in existing stations in order to comply with the TSI PRM. Furthermore, according to the revised measures, all public areas of stations dedicated to rail travel will have to be compliant with the TSI PRM.
A financial commitment by public authorities to invest in accessibility is fundamental, in particular when decisions to refurbish existing stations are taken. CER, along with passenger associations, has repeatedly called upon the European institutions and the Member States to coordinate their actions and to put in place the necessary resources that will boost the accessibility of trains and stations while not hindering their economic viability.
CER committed to railway accessibility
CER is committed to the common objective of delivering a rail network that can be used by all passengers, including disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility. Together with the European Disability Forum (EDF), the European rail sector agreed in 2009 on uniform access conditions for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility. CER supports enhanced cooperation between all stakeholders at European and national level, from the exchange of best practices to the definition of concrete tools.
CER Executive Director Libor Lochman commented: “Accessibility is about making the life of all passengers easier. To learn from the experience of the customer is essential. That’s why the European railways continue to exchange best practices with passenger associations in order to further improve their services on a regular basis”.