Accessibility in public transport

Barrierefreiheit (c) SBB

The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) stipulates that public transport must meet the needs of disabled and elderly passengers by the end of 2023 at the latest. Implementation is well under way.

In addition to disabled persons, senior citizens with age-related restrictions also benefit from the provisions of the DDA. Ground-level access options to public transport will also come as a relief to younger people with heavy luggage, a pushchair or a leg in a cast.

Where it relates to public transport, the DDA is primarily aimed at transport companies and infrastructure operators. In its capacity as supervisory authority, granting authority and building permit authority in the railway sector, the FOT is affected and plays a supervisory role, while taking into account the principle of proportionality laid down in the DDA.

The adaptation period for existing infrastructure (train stations, stops) and vehicles (rolling stock) in public transport is 20 years, and runs until the up to the end of 2023. Trains with ground-level access options, which can be used autonomously by persons with reduced mobility, are already largely in use in regional transport. For long-distance traffic, the FOT has stipulated that at least one train per hour and direction of travel must have autonomous ground-level access options by the end of 2023. At train stations and stops, the DDA requirements have already been met for almost two thirds of passengers. Further adjustments are underway: in 2017, the FOT decided to release additional funds for the adaptation of train stations and stops, and to issue planning instructions to the infrastructure operators. Each year it issues a report on the status of implementation (available in German, French and Italian). Ticket machines and communication systems (departure displays, information provided in vehicles) had to be adapted by the end of 2013. Besides train, bus and tram services, timetabled boat services and cable car cabins designed to carry more than eight persons must also be barrier-free by the end of 2023.

An evaluation commissioned by the Federal Bureau for the Equality of People with Disabilities showed that a great deal has been done to implement the DDA in public transport compared to other areas: "The greatest progress has undoubtedly been made in public transport." The greatest need for action in this area remains the adaptation of bus stops. The cantons and communes are responsible for this.