The Regulation (EC) N°1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligation brought a set of common minimal rules for all persons travelling by train in Europe. It includes a specific chapter on the rights of passengers with disabilities and passengers with reduced mobility.
In its 2013 report on the application of the Regulation, the European Commission highlighted certain problematic areas which were confirmed by an impact assessment in 2016/2017. In 2017, the Commission tabled a proposal (COM/2017/0548 final - 2017/0237 (COD)) for a modernised regulation, with the aim namely to significantly improve the rights of passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility.
This article describes the essential elements of the existing Regulation and of its proposed recast, from the point of view of visually impaired persons (hereafter “VIPs”).
In the Czech Republic there are many railway operators, ranging from local ones to three operating main lines, including the biggest one, national Czech Railways. While railway operators run trains, the rail transport infrastructure such as tracks and stations is owned and run by state.
In the U.K. we have over two million people who are blind and partially sighted. Many have additional disabilities, such as diabetes and arthritis. These disabilities can cause loss of feeling in the feet and hands. The majority of these people will have to rely on public transport throughout their lives.
First of all I would like to congratulate the SNCF for creating accessibility commissions and organising monthly meetings of all the organisations for disabled people. This allows transport technicians to understand our demands and to ask us directly about our needs.