Press Releases

Passengers Using Wheelchairs Set New Travel Record

10.7.2015 - 13:42

Passengers using wheelchairs have set a new travel record. Just in the first six months of this year, 2,262 passengers using wheelchairs have travelled on ČD connections and have ordered their transport using the new booking system. Compared to the first half of last year, this represents approximately 300 more passengers with wheelchairs. Interest in train travel among persons using wheelchairs has been growing steadily for several years now, and this year the number of such passengers may even surpass the figure of 5,000 for the year – and these figures do not include journeys taken by passengers using wheelchairs who do not book their trips. Usually, these are individuals who travel between disabled-accessible stations on low-floor trains, use lightweight mechanical wheelchairs and have guides.  

“Twenty years ago, ČD transported some twenty passengers using wheelchairs each year; today, these passengers have such interest in travelling that we normally transport the same number in a single day,” says Michal Štěpán, ČD’s Board Member responsible for passenger transport, adding: “We have recorded significant interest in train journeys by passengers using wheelchairs in the last five years. During this period, we have deployed a large number of disabled-accessible carriages, and a substantial portion of these also have a low-floor design. Whereas in 2008 we recorded requests for transport from just 222 passengers using wheelchairs for the entire year, last year we transported 4,310 such passengers who, moreover, used our new booking system. If the trend of the first half of this year continues, passengers using wheelchairs will set a new travel record with over 5,000 journeys for the year.” The most recent transport figures for passengers using wheelchairs are contributing to them breaking all their previous travel records. In June alone, ČD’s services were used by 528 registered passengers with wheelchairs. This number sets a new record too. And these figures would be even higher if unannounced journeys by passengers using wheelchairs were included as well.

ČD is working continuously on making the railway accessible to persons using wheelchairs. Between 2010 and 2015, it has increased the number of disabled-accessible carriages and trains by approximately 250 from c. 350 to 600 (an increase of 70%), and the number of disabled-accessible connections in the timetables have risen by approximately two and a half thousand – from 2,122 trains to 4,612 trains (an increase of c. 117%). People using wheelchairs can also perform a simple search to find disabled-accessible connections with a special instruction in the online search engine for train connections on www.cd.cz. When the “passengers using wheelchairs” instruction is applied, the system will find only disabled-accessible trains. Today, these are normally equipped with an accessible WC and air-conditioning, many of them also have 230 V electrical sockets for charging passengers’ small electronic devices, and some of them even offer a Wi-Fi internet connection. Detailed information about trains, accessible connections, stations, transport terms and easy online trip booking can be found on www.cd.cz/bezprekazek.

The record number of passengers using wheelchairs on the railway is no surprise to Václav Krása, Chairman of the Czech National Disability Council: “We know that people using wheelchairs want to live active, fully-fledged civic lives. Among the basic prerequisites for fulfilling these aspirations is the ability to travel. ČD’s specific results demonstrate that investments in removing barriers in transport have truly made this possible, and people with health disabilities are making full use of it. We appreciate the fact that ČD, as the national railway carrier, is in a very intensive dialogue with us and is actively engaged in making the railway accessible. Already roughly two-thirds of trains are now disabled-accessible, and this is reflected in growing interest among passengers using wheelchairs as well as in their satisfaction with train travel. It’s a pity that there aren’t more similarly responsible carriers in the regions and in long-distance transport, in particular among private bus companies. This means that we – people who use wheelchairs – often have no other choice than to travel only to destinations that ČD and several other socially responsible companies that procure disabled-accessible vehicles serve.”



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