European rail sector welcomes latest step towards fully accessible public transport
The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) welcomes the Commission adoption today of a proposal for a European Disability Card. This proposal, which CER has requested for some time, will further equal access to preferential conditions across borders for persons with disabilities when accessing services like culture, leisure, sport and transport.
The European Disability Card makes it easier for passengers with disabilities to claim their rights under the European Passenger Rights Regulation 2021/782 and would support the implementation of the CER Ticketing Roadmap. Harmonisation of ticketing conditions is one of the main challenges faced by railway undertakings in CER due to disparate legal frameworks. Railways therefore welcome any help from the EU institutions to achieve seamless rail ticketing for all groups of passengers.
CER members deliver transport services for persons with disabilities and are active in the field of assistive technology, such as developing accessible apps, ticket-distribution and websites. European railway undertakings and infrastructure managers work continuously at both national and international level – also within the CER Customer Liaison Group, of which the European Disability Forum (EDF) is a member – to improve the travel experience of people with reduced mobility (PRM) or passengers with disabilities. Since 2010 representatives from most of the main railway companies in Europe meet regularly within the UIC PASSAGE Group of Experts to exchange best practices and to discuss accessibility issues and PRM policies.
It is essential that railways are involved early in the development of new policy actions related to transport and accessibility. CER members are engaged in an active and continuous dialogue with passengers with disabilities and their national and European federations. Accessibility was made a priority of the Connecting Europe Express train that travelled the continent in 2021. CER members ensured participation of disability group representatives and demonstrated the developments in accessibility.
CER Executive Director Alberto Mazzola said: “The Community of European Railway and Infrastructure Companies (CER) extends its wholehearted support to the European Commission's efforts in ensuring equitable mobility access throughout the European Union. Railway companies persistently strive to improve the travel experience for all passengers with a disability. Among many benefits, the European Disability Card will also enable a more seamless ticketing experience for passengers with reduced mobility and help railway undertakings to implement the CER Ticketing Roadmap more effectively.”
For more on the CER Ticketing Roadmap see here.