How can you travel by train as a wheelchair user?
Yes, this is a tough question for many, the anxiety is real even if you have traveled in the past. Before every journey, you would be asking. Hey, hope this one goes well.
Planning Your Journey with Wheelchair
Planning your journey by train? but giving it a second thought because of your wheelchair?
Not an issue anymore, all you need to do is executing your plan because there is a lot of services available to a physically challenged person. Trains are always one of the important means of public transport. Although it becomes difficult for a wheelchair user, many problems are faced especially by those who are 70%-80% disabled.
Now some people have a viewpoint that in the case of standardized wheelchairs it’s not possible to travel by trains, but it’s better if you have a customized wheelchair.
Book an Assitant for help
While planning to travel by train it is always advisable, especially at major city stations, to book assistance or take guidance in advance as station staff can then be allocated to help you onto the platform and onto the correct train by using a wheelchair ramp that all main stations have these days. For local services, there is usually no need to book a seat in advance, as most suburban trains have space reserved for wheelchairs. This is often marked on the outside of the appropriate carriage and station staff can advise the guard of your destination, so that they may help you off the train when it arrives.
Planning ahead always helps
One needs to have a plan for the upcoming journey before they go anywhere. Many times there have been issues with the staff where they are unable to put a disabled person on or take them off the train due to medical reasons. If this is the case where they do not have the physical ability to place ramps. then in such circumstances, alternative transport will be arranged. they do offer taxi services to the next accessible station, this can take over an hour to arrive, and thus having planned, enquired in advance will always avoid these last-minute hassles.
If you are using a mobility scooter it is always advisable or prior checking is required whether such scooters are allowed to be carried on the train that you wish to travel. Because certainly there are some train companies which may have restrictions on the size or weight of a vehicle that can be conveyed by rail. One should also keep certain things in mind like confirming that there are no works being carried out on the days that you wish to travel because this may create a little bit of an inconvenience.
BOOKING TICKETS IN ADVANCE
If you wish to make a long journey by rail it is always advisable to book tickets in advance, as space for wheelchairs is often limited on express trains and it also means that you are able to take advantage of cheaper tickets, that are often considerably cheaper than turn up and go tickets.
Many stations, especially the newer build or newer types, now have specially adapted ticket windows with lower ledges making it easier for wheelchair users to communicate with booking office staff.
Where there is no staff present there is usually a self-service ticket machine. New generation machines are also more accessible for wheelchair users. Many trains calling at unstaffed stations often carry an onboard wheelchair ramp enabling the guard to help you on and off the train. You should, however, ensure that the station you are traveling to and from is step-free and/or staffed if you feel you will need assistance.
What if there is no lift available for the wheelchair?
At some stations, where there is no step-free bridge or lifts, wheelchair users may have to cross the railway line by using a boarded crossing, sometimes called a barrow crossing. At such stations, a member of the platform staff will assist you across the line to the platform that you need to be on. These crossings are very safe and are protected by warning lights that inform staff whether it is safe to cross or not.
Disabled Accessible Toilets
Most modern rolling stock is now fitted with disabled accessible toilets that not only have electronic sliding doors but are fitted with emergency buttons, should you get into difficulties when you are inside. This alerts a member of the onboard staff who will come to your assistance.
Traveling is fun but is there limitations when using a wheelchair? Maybe not, let’s find out why…
Traveling by trains with a Wheelchair in India
Indian Railways always have a soft corner for the disabled one and try all the aspect to make them feel comfortable by helping them and making them realize that they are not less than others
Also Read: Top Wheelchair Companies in India
Indian Railways had already manufactured around 2100 coaches which are suitably designed compartments and toilets to the needs of the wheelchair-borne/disabled persons. It is also endeavored to have at least one such coach in each Mail/Express train.
GARIB RATH-Friendly compartment
Fully air-conditioned Garib Rath trains have been provided with Air-conditioned disabled friendly compartment and toilet in the power cars
Also in suburban trains, EMU coaches have adequate doorway opening for entry and exit for wheelchair borne/disabled persons. The provision of earmarked compartments for disabled passengers also exists in select sub-urban trains, including in Mumbai.
In accordance for implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act and amenities to make stations, including the suburban station of Mumbai area, more accessible to handicapped persons, the government is planning to provide through a prioritized plan in a phased manner that has useful facility Such identified amenities are standard ramp, parking lots, non-slippery wheelchairs. Railways have also planned to provide the facility of inter-platforms for disabled persons particularly, those in wheelchairs. It has also been planned to provide barrier-free access through the provision of lifts/escalators over major and important railway stations that have been identified for development as world-class stations.
Efforts from Northern Railway
Northern Railway, Ministry of Railways had set an excellent example of user-service provider partnerships in providing accessible facilities for disabled persons. Samarthyam, National Centre for Accessible Environments, a civil society organization access audited the New Delhi railway station and vetted plans of Anand Vihar station in 2007. Accessible design standards and user perspectives were incorporated in the blueprints of Anand Vihar and redevelopment plans of the New Delhi railway station. Samarthyam presented report recommendations with Universal Design features to DRM, Delhi Division and Chief Engineer (Construction), Northern Railway
For the very first time, Indian Railways has introduced passenger ferry vehicles which is accessible for persons with reduced mobility in some metropolitan cities. Thus one can plan for their trip even without being disheartened by their disability and can enjoy like others. As the article state one should always remember that if there’s a wheel there’s a Way.
We all understand there is a level of anxiety whenever you are planning your travel, especially when you are in a wheelchair. However, things have improved a lot these days. There are a number of facilities, support staff and much more which can make your journey a great experience. Do you want to share your experience? Please drop in comments about your experience about your journey.