Region Västra Götaland’s (VGR) Public Transport Committee has drawn up a Strategy forthe accessibility adaptation of public transport containing targets and strategies. The overall objective is:
- Public transport must take into account the needs of all passenger groups.
- There must be a designated network that is accessibility adapted in order to make travel easier.
The vast majority of people, whatever their disability, must be able to travel with Västtrafik and in some situations passengers can be offered special assistance. When planning and awarding contracts for transport services, stops, vehicles and other services, Västtrafik must always make things better and easier for people with disabilities. The specific measures on which Västtrafik has concentrated are the adapting of vehicles and stops.
Västtrafik's activities to achieve these goals:
There are many elements to a journey on public transport. These include planning the journey, getting to the stop, at the stop, getting on or off the vehicle, paying, service during the journey, any changes and connections. For a person with a disability, confidence can play a key role in the decision to travel. All transport staff are trained in dealing with all customer groups, through driver certification or equivalent.
Companion service is available during the hours when Västtrafik serves the stop. The service is included in the fare and is available to all passengers who believe they need it. The aim is to make it as easy as possible to travel by public transport. Today the companion service is offered at 65 larger interchange stops and provides 1800 companion trips per year.
According to the Swedish Agency for Participation, accessibility adapted vehicles must be equipped with a ramp/lift, wheelchair space and audio-visual announcements. Almost all buses, trains and ferries are now accessibility adapted, but 30% of tram carriages are not. By 2022, the older tram carriages should have been replaced, meaning that all public transport vehicles will be accessibility adapted.
The table below shows accessibility adapted vehicles:
Buses: approximately 100 have been procured solely for school services without a requirement for accessibility adapted vehicles.
Trams are per individual vehicle. Approximately 120 of these are paired carriages.
The remaining vehicles have manual stop announcements.
Latest key indicators on accessibility adapted vehicles in FRIDA.
Tram services are planned so that in the first instance services are provided using accessibility adapted individual vehicles, which means that nearly 70% of all tram services are provided using accessibility adapted vehicles at peak times, while the proportion of accessibility adapted services will be higher during off-peak periods.
There are 120 designated hubs at strategic locations in Västra Götaland plus around 680 stops which have more than 100 passengers boarding every day. These 800 sites in the public transport system form a priority network that must be adapted for people with a disability. The selection of hubs and stops is made so as to ensure that there is at least one adapted strategic hub in each municipality and that the stops with the largest passenger numbers are adapted.
Funding has been set aside in the regional infrastructure plan until 2016 for the further adaptation of hubs and stops. Achieving the target by 2016 requires an adapation rate of around 75 hubs and stops, which is possible through good cooperation between the municipalities, Trafikverket and Västtrafik.
The accessibility work also involves the addition of real-time displays across the whole of the region. The target is to install around 1,300 displays, and at year-end 2014/15 the proportion of visual displays installed was 82%.
There is currently a range of cooperation forums on accessibility, with ongoing cooperation between Västtrafik, VGR, the municipalities, Trafikverket and the Swedish Public Transport Association (Svensk Kollektivtrafik) in order to achieve the overall objective. There is also consultation with disability organisations, as well as a number of meetings with individual organisations.
In order to guarantee a prioritised public transport network that people with disabilities can rely on, key processes must be ensured with regard to quality systems, assurance and monitoring. This mainly applies to the adaptation of vehicles, companion service and driver training on accessibility. Quality monitoring will be developed further over the coming years.
There is currently a high level of awareness of the work to simplify travel for passengers with a disability, but little knowledge of what this involves. Our ongoing work focuses on increased knowledge, information initiatives and physical measures as below:
- Service – passenger interaction, companion service, audio-visual announcements, companion card, website, etc.
- Vehicles – simplification and clarification of terms and conditions of travel.
- Stops – information in travel planner about the stop facilities.
- Quality monitoring – making sure that what we have works.