Volume 9 Issue 5 - May 15, 2012

Chennai metro rail makes a good start in being accessible, can do a lot more

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Chennai Metro Rail Limited (C.M.R.L.) has assured that the trains and stations will be accessible for persons with disabilities. This announcement follows advocacy led by Disability Rights Alliance (D.R.A.), which has been in dialogue with C.M.R.L. for the past few months.

C.M.R.L. officials have said that all metro stations will have signages within and outside the station to guide users. There will be tactile tiles at the edge of the platform to alert people with visual impairment. Other accessible features include accessible elevators and toilets, ticket counters at a convenient height, induction loops at ticket counters for passengers with hearing impairment, ramps with adequate landing space and staircases with handrails, among others. Subject to availability of space, a dedicated parking space will also be provided to persons with disabilities.

While D.R.A. members feel that this is a good start, certain provisions are missing which would make travel by metro more comfortable for persons with disabilities. The existing guidelines do not give clarity on arrangements for persons with disabilities during emergency situations or on training the staff to handle persons with disabilities. D.R.A. would also like Sign Language interpreters at counters, along with the provision to ask for assistance at the station and platform. References to physically challenged should be replaced by persons with disabilities, as physical access is just one aspect of accessibility.

D.R.A. is also demanding that the provisions for persons with disabilities should be made public on the C.M.R.L. website, which itself should conform to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (W.C.A.G.) 2.0.

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