Flemish mobility minister has announced a €3-million investment aimed at making local bus services more accessible to passengers with disabilities. Although almost 90% of the bus lines operated by the Flemish public transport authority De Lijn are accessible to people with disabilities, only a quarter of the stops are – a situation Flemish mobility minister Ben Weyts has admitted is “absurd”. Accessible vehicles or stops can be used by a person with disabilities without any need for assistance.
“Following a successful trial project, 70 lines will be transformed into ‘more mobile lines’ with accessible stops and vehicles,” Weyts told the Dutch-language newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
A “more mobile” bus line is one that uses only fully accessible, low-floor vehicles, with half of the stops on that line accessible. Passengers with disabilities also aren’t required to reserve a ride 24 hours in advance – as is the case for all the other lines – since they don’t require assistance to get on or off the buses.
According to a poll carried out as part of the mobility ministry’s trial project, 80% of people with disabilities would use public transport services more frequently if they were made more accessible.
Linda A. Thompson
The Brussels Times