Hyderabad: Public transport has often been callous to the disabled. But the Hyderabad Metro Rail promises to be different.
According to officials, physically challenged people would have no difficulties travelling on the Metro. Irrespective of whether they are wheelchair bound, visually impaired, have hearing, speech or cognitive disabilities, can wheel into Metro stations and commute like others.
“In designing the stations, lifts, fare gates and ticket vending machines, we have made it possible for the disabled to transcend their physical limitations,” said HMRL Managing Director NVS Reddy.
In tune with this vision, the Concessionaire L&TMRHL has provided a barrier free environment for the physically and the visually challenged, and even elderly persons using the Metro. Right from the moment one approaches the Metro station, facilities such as ramp are provided at the road level to facilitate wheelchairs up to the lifts.
For easy maneuverability and accommodation of wheelchairs, spacious lifts are being provided with hand rails inside for the elderly and disabled persons.
The lift operating buttons will have information in Braille at all levels of the station while a tactile strip is being provided from the street level till the edge of the platform, to guide visually challenged persons.
“Wheelchair bound passengers will not encounter any problem getting into the train as care is being taken in maintaining the gap between the platform and train floor. Even the visually challenged will not run the risk of getting their feet accidentally trapped in the opening between the platform and the train door,” HMRL officials said.
Once in, the wheelchairs can be locked to a special ‘grab hold’ in the train in the designated wheelchair spaces. Every station will have special toilets with grab bars and supports to help the physically challenged. Wide automatic fare collection gates are provided for wheelchair passengers. For those with speech impairment, ticket vending machines are being designed.
This apart, signage with high contrast levels is being designed to aid partially visually challenged passengers and those with cognitive disabilities. Further to help the illiterate and the disabled, there will be pictograms along with signage for easy access of different areas of the station and trains.
“HMRL has also planned to make announcements in three languages to help those who can’t see and read. The announcements will give information about the next station, the platform side on which the door will open and other safety guidelines,” Reddy said.