As from 26 June people with recognised reduced mobility will be able to use mobility scooters on the metro system and regular bus services in the same conditions as wheelchair users. The pilot scheme is being organised via a collaboration agreement between the City Council, the Government of Catalonia, AMB and TMB to promote accessibility and autonomy among people with disabilities.
The pilot scheme will run until the new Accessibility Code is approved, which will set out the general conditions for access to public transport, or at the most until 31 December this year. The initiative is open to people officially residing in Barcelona and with a recognised degree of reduced mobility, or who have a chronic illness which limits their mobility.
Mobility scooters must meet the dimensional, weight, stability and manoeuvrability conditions set out by the Government of Catalonia for safe use on the metro and buses, which can be found at www.bcn.cat/accessible.
To take part, users must obtain personal accreditation and a numbered purple plaque, issued by the Municipal Institute for People with Disabilities (IMPD). The badge, which must be visible on the mobility scooter, will allow users to access the metro and the 99 bus services run by TMB in the same conditions as motorised wheelchair users. That means:
-Users can get on buses via the central door, or the second section of articulated buses with four doors, using the access ramps available.
-Inside buses and trains they should use the spaces set aside for wheelchairs.
-They should face the opposite direction to which the train or bus is travelling in, in an upright position and with the brakes applied.
-The use of safety belts is obligatory.
The pilot scheme is the result of an agreement between the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona City Council, the Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB) and Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB). The Deputy Mayor for Social Rights, Laia Ortiz, explained that “there’s still a lot to be done, but measures such as this move us closer to universal accessibility and the inclusive city we’re after”. For her part, the Councillor for Mobility and chair of TMB, Mercedes Vidal, explained that public transport in Barcelona “continues to be a leader in accessibility and inclusion, as it was ten years ago when the entire bus fleet was adapted for people with reduced mobility”.