De Lijn bus and tram stops to be made more accessible

Summary

A decade-long project will see a majority of tram and bus stops in Flanders become accessible to people with limited mobility and the visually impaired

Putting the ‘public’ in public transport

Flemish mobility minister Lydia Peeters (Open VLD) has launched an accessibility master plan for public transport in the region. The €23 million project will make De Lijn’s bus and tram stops more accessible for people who are visually or physically impaired.

The figures say it all: Only 12% of bus and tram stops in Flanders are fully accessible to those who use a wheelchair or who are otherwise limited in terms of mobility. While progress has been made in dribs and drabs, Peeters want a systematic approach to making the stops more accessible.

“The new vision for public transport in Flanders, basic accessibility, applies to everyone,” she says. “People with disabilities or elderly people who have difficulty walking must also be able to travel by public transport. Making stops accessible is crucial in this respect and proactively co-operates with local authorities, for which the necessary incentives are provided.”

More Mobile City

The ambitious project will take some time: 2,000 bus and tram stops along regional roads will be updated at the rate of 200 a year. Some 50% of municipal stops will be made fully accessible in the same period. This will see the master plan completed by 2030.

Current stops will either be accessible to the passenger completely autonomously or with assistance from the tram or bus driver. Any new stops that are added to any network will be designed to allow full autonomy to the user – meaning no assistance will be required.

Local councils are crucial to the plan as they will oversee the work done in their own municipalities. They can receive up to €5,000 per stop that they make accessible. The minister is also launching a More Mobile City award that make the most advances in creating accessible public transport in their cities and towns.

“So many stops are managed by local authorities, and we want to encourage and support them in making them accessible to everyone,” says Peeters.

Photo courtesy mobility ministry