MEPs approve Accessibility Act, ready for talks in Council

The EU accessibility act will force public transport operators to buy ticket machines that are accessible for people with disabilities. [Glen Wallace/Flickr]

The European Parliament approved on Thursday 14 (September) the proposed European Accessibility Act, a major piece of legislation meant to make life easier for the elderly and people with disabilities, adding that it is ready for potentially tough member states negotiations.

“More than 80 million people living with disabilities will benefit from today’s vote in Parliament,” MEP Morten Løkkegaard (ALDE), the lead rapporteur, told the Parliament, which approved it by  537 votes to 12, with 89 abstentions.

“From the beginning, it has been my aim to strike a balance between innovating more accessible products and services, whilst ensuring that we do not create new burdens for businesses all over Europe. The vote today proves that this balance is possible,” the Danish MEP said.

Løkkegaard told EURACTIV.com in an exclusive interview this week that he was confident it would pass because he had heeded some of the proposals from disability groups and had worked to persuade political groups in Parliament of the need to endorse it.

Løkkegaard: Amended Accessibility Act should pass in Parliament

The European Accessibility Act – a landmark piece of legislation for Europe’s 80 million people with disabilities – goes to the European Parliament’s for a plenary vote on Wednesday (13 September) after lengthy and sometimes heated debates.

But Løkkegaard also said he expected “trouble” with the Council, when EU ministers start debating the proposal with the Parliament and the Commission in trilogue talks, because many member states disagree with some of the elements, particularly those concerning the built environment requirements.

There is still no date for the trilogue talks because the Council has yet to agree on its position, the Parliament revealed. Løkkegaard told EURACTIV the talks could start “before Christmas”.

Public transport operators, led by the International Organisation for Public Transport (UITP), have called for a “careful impact assessment of accessibility measures” and a thorough cost-benefit analysis to make sure the measures can really be implemented without irrational or unnecessary spending of public money.

Battle hots up over details of Accessibilty Act for passengers with disabilities

Last week dozens of people with disabilities demonstrated outside the European Parliament in the hope that MEPs will honour promises they saw in a landmark new accessibility act.

The Accessibility Act, which does not cover micro-enterprises of fewer than 10 employees, regulates a variety of fields, from ticket and cash machines to phones, computers, TVs, to public transport, including underground, rail, trams and buses.

The Act will “outline what needs to be accessible but will not impose detailed technical solutions as to how to make it accessible, thus allowing for innovation,” the Parliament said in a statement.

UITP Europe

UITP is the international association representing public transport stakeholders. In the EU, UITP brings together more than 400 urban, suburban and regional public transport operators and authorities from all member states and is a key partner for the European institutions and other bodies.

UITP and its members aim to make public transport infrastructure and services more accessible to “the world’s largest minority” and, more broadly, to all people with reduced mobility and with disabilities.


Events

UITP-Busworld International Bus Conference | 23-24 October 2017 | Kortrijk, Belgium

The UITP International Bus Conference will take place in conjunction with the Busworld Europe exhibition in Kortrijk, Belgium. These unrivalled major bus events will bring together bus operators, authorities, and industry experts from across the world. This will be an unmissable opportunity for you to learn and exchange best practices on day-to-day bus operations, compare trends and see the opportunities that new technology can bring to your organisation.

UITP Workshop: Mobility as a Service: How to make an integrated mobility solution successful | 18 October 2017 | Paris, France

Join the UITP Combined Mobility Community for an interactive workshop day on Mobility as a Service (MaaS). MaaS or integrated mobility platforms are key to reduce car ownership as they provide registration, information, booking, payment, and ticketing/billing for the use of all available urban mobility services, but how can we get it right to offer an alternative to car ownership and guarantee freedom of mobility to our citizens?


Best practices

Find out more about ongoing efforts of UITP members to make travelling in cities accessible for everyone
Bluebus
Vienna – Wiener Linien
Paris – RATP
Stuttgart – SSB (only in German)
London – Transport for London
Helsinki - HKL
Madrid - EMT / Metro
Madrid
Keolis
Handéo – French Association
TMB - Barcelona
Transdev Group
MyAid - Swiss Innovation Lab
Rimini
Movia Denmark (available only in Danish)
Stockholm
Västtrafik – Gothenburg


Publications

Accessibility Guide - UITP’s latest work in this field is a practical guide to help public transport staff deal with people with reduced mobility and with disabilities made together with the International Road Union (IRU) and the European Disability Forum (EDF).

PTI magazine is out!
PTI2 - Access to my city