Managers of Spanish and foreign public transport companies and corporations known for their accessibility policies presented their strategies and success stories in favor of more inclusive transport in Barcelona.
Within the summit, accessibility in public transport was addressed, in a meeting organized by AccessibleEU (European Accessibility Center), a European consortium for improving the accessibility of services and infrastructures in the EU promoted by the European Commission and whose coordination has entrusted the ONCE Foundation.
The participants from public transport companies and corporations agreed that the best way to guarantee a high level of accessibility in public transport is to take measures that make their means more inclusive for all users, not only for people with disabilities or the poor. third age. They said that another key to success in accessibility is to be in close contact with associations of people with disabilities, to hear their complaints and contributions for improvement.
Ana Vieitez, from Transportes Metropolitanos de Barcelona (TMB), spoke along these lines, explaining the different groups and work programs that this entity has created to improve accessibility, and highlighted the collaboration it maintains with Cocemfe and ONCE.
Sarah O’Donnell, from the public transport network of Ireland, TII, explained the strategies that her entity has implemented, including the accessible podcast ‘All aboard’ of the transport network of Ireland.
Veera Laiterä, from the Helsinki municipal transport network, also spoke on behalf of the public corporations, who gave details about the special signs for people with disabilities that have been implemented in the media in her city, and Olatz Ortiz, from the public transport network. Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC), who described the decisions they have taken to improve the accessibility of information to users and the incorporation of the latest technologies on inclusiveness.
In the panel of companies, which was coordinated by the director of AccesibleEU and director of Accessibility of Fundación ONCE, Jesús Hernández Galán, the director of Customer Experience of Renfe, Santiago Fernández, told some of the projects that the public operator has launched since in 2007 it presented its first accessibility plan. He highlighted the Renfe Atendo customer service experience, which since it was also created in 2007 has provided more than 6 million assistances.
“As a public company, the obligation of universal accessibility is a ‘must’, and the objective is not differentiation, but integration,” said the Renfe manager.
Alstom’s Director of Customer Experience, Anne Bigand, stated along the same lines that she maintained that “inclusivity means thinking of all passengers” and we seek to “build a better train for everyone”.
Francisco Magalhaes, head of International Sales for the Portuguese bus manufacturer Caetanobus, and Francisco de Asís, director of Alsa Projects, highlighted the importance of close collaboration with disability associations, technology companies and administrations.
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