Eliminating discrimination against people with disabilities in public transport

Passengers with disabilities should be able to use public transport independently. For this reason, transport companies are procuring low-floor vehicles and making railway stations and stops more customer-friendly with ramps and ground-level platforms. Regular boat and cableway services with nine or more seats must also be barrier-free.

A man in a wheelchair opens the door of a train to get on.
Level accesses allow people with reduced mobility to use public transport autonomously.

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) stipulates that from the beginning of 2024 public transport must be barrier-free and in general allow passengers with disabilities to use it independently. These statutory measures will benefit other passengers too.

The transport companies and infrastructure operators are responsible for implementing the measures, while the cantons and communes are responsible for bus stops. In recent years great progress has been made with installing disabled-friendly information and ticketing systems, procuring low-floor vehicles, raising platforms and building additional ramps and lifts. Major railways stations have been upgraded as a matter of priority. However, at around 540 of the total 1,800 stations, transport companies will not implement the structural modifications until 2024 or later. Until then, they will adopt interim measures. In around 140 cases, structural modification has been deemed disproportionate because the costs are too high in relation to passenger volume. Where this is the case, transport companies must provide an alternative solution from the beginning of 2024, usually by means of staff assistance.

The FOT is supporting companies in implementing the statutory measures. It provides funding and ensures the standard implementation of technical measures by issuing guidelines and checklists. Where there are delays to adapting stations, the FOT requires transport companies to submit time schedules and budgets to avoid any further delay to implementation.