Accessibility for all
For many years, RATP has endeavoured to make travel easier for disabled people. It has introduced a plethora of equipment and services to make its stations and vehicles more accessible. It aims to do more than simply meet its legal obligations, by making its networks accessible to all. This is one of the priorities of its Sustainable Development policy.
The Accessibility Master Plan and beyond
According to the law, RATP’s networks, excluding the metro, must be accessible to all disabled people by 2015. In order to meet this obligation, RATP is working with STIF, the transport organising authority, to devise and implement an Accessibility Master Plan for the region. The entire Paris bus network has been accessible to wheelchair users since December, 2009. More generally, RATP wishes to establish the bus, tramway and RER as the preferred modes of transport in the Paris region. To this end, it is accelerating the implementation of measures aimed at all passengers who have trouble getting around in its transport networks. This is one of the priorities of its Sustainable Development policy.
A partnership with charities and civil society
RATP is in constant contact with all the relevant stakeholders: transport users, charities and local authorities. In 2009, RATP joined forces with eight charities representing disabled people to create an Advisory Council on Accessibility. This council promotes consultation and collaboration on innovative technologies and experimentation.
RATP also designs and distributes various materials about mobility aimed at educating the general public:
- Practical guides to using public transport, specifically aimed at the various limited-mobility groups who have the most difficulty using the network;
- Mobility workshops for people aged between 16 and 25 enrolled on professional or social integration programmes. They aim to facilitate access to and use of public transport for economically vulnerable sections of the population. Mobility is an essential skill influencing integration and access to employment, as well as to education, culture, and shopping and leisure activities. Being able to read a map, take ownership of an urban area, work out a route, use ticket machines, understand signs and switch from one form of transport to another involves a learning process.
In 1994, RATP joined forces with SNCF to found the charity “Les Compagnons du Voyage”, which organises support for people who are in a fragile condition or find it difficult to get around on public transport.
- To fit all metro and RER stations and bus stops with seats.
- To improve the network’s provision for people with limited mobility.
- To strengthen the compatibility of the RER and bus services; to improve the quality of bus and RER connections outside of rush hour; to publish the times when the network is at its least busy on the official RATP website.
- To allow people to identify routes that are physically undemanding.
- To increase awareness of the ratp.fr website among older people; to guide the Seniorcité site towards service problems associated with transport and travel.
- To develop specific customer support for people in a fragile physical condition.
- To improve support for tourists. To this end, RATP is recruiting English-speaking staff. Remote translation tools and English language training help staff to communicate more easily with non French-speaking passengers (SAM project).
New technologies to improve accessibility and customer service
RATP is using new technologies to develop new services that promote accessibility. BlueEyes is one such technology tested. It uses mobile phones and Bluetooth wireless technology to offer solutions that help people with limited mobility to travel around independently on the public transport network.