Special care will be taken to cater for commuters with mobility, visual and hearing problems
The Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) will be a disabled-friendly system with special care being taken to cater to the needs of commuters with mobility, visual, hearing, speech and cognitive impairments.
“The elevated stations are designed to provide barrier-free environment to the disabled. Ramps will be provided at the road level of stations to facilitate wheelchair movement to lifts, which will be big enough to accommodate and manoeuvre them,” said HMR Managing Director N.V.S. Reddy.
Addressing a press conference on Monday at the HMR Bhavan on the eve of the World Disabled Day, Mr. Reddy said wide automatic fare collection gates, grab rails at appropriate places and special toilets would be constructed at all stations.
The HMR, in association with the Disabled Rights Forum (DRF), is organising ‘Awareness Walk for Disabled Persons’ on Necklace Road on Tuesday at 7 a.m. Padma Reddy, K. Nageswara Rao and Shailaja, representatives of voluntary organisations for the disabled, including Association for the Physically Handicapped, Vegesna Foundation and Disabled United Forum, were present.
Mr. Reddy said the disabled-friendly facilities would enable a wheelchair-bound commuter to move from the road onto the concourse (first floor of the station) and then the platform (on the second floor) without much difficulty. The operating buttons in lifts, fare gates and ticket vending machines are designed to provide proper access to disabled persons.
Lift operating buttons will have information in Braille at all levels of the stations to help visually-impaired persons. Tactile strip will also be provided from the street level right up to the edge of the platform for them to get into the train on their own by tapping the floor using the walking stick, said Mr. Reddy.
The gap between the platform and the train floor will be minimal to allow wheelchair-bound or visually-impaired commuters to get in easily and to prevent their feet from getting accidentally trapped. Designated spaces in the coaches will have provision to lock wheelchairs to a special ‘grab hold’.
Ticket vending machines will also aid passengers with speech impairment and signage design, including pictograms with high contrast levels, which will help those with limited visual capacity and cognitive disabilities and even the unlettered. Announcements will be made in three languages about the next station and the platform on which the doors open.