Fundamentals of Disability Studies Comparison between the accessibility of public transportation in Budapest and Utrecht (Geldermalsen) by Lisa Brokking, Lauke van Dun and Larissa Versteeg December, 2015 Mentor: Orsolya Mikola
Summary In this paper you will find a comparison between the accessibility of the public transport for disabled people in Budapest (Hungary) and in Geldermalsen/Utrecht (The Netherlands). The research question was: â€˜What are the differences and similarities between the public transportation in Geldermalsen/Utrecht (NL) and Budapest (HU) for physically impaired and visual impaired persons during the route from home to school and does this public transportation meet the laws of the CRPD?â€™. To find an answer to this question, the research was divided into two parts. In this paper, you will find the theoretical part. The theoretical part consisted of the process of reading literature and doing an interview with an employee of the BKK. The other part consists of a practical experience, summarized in a movie. It shows the different routes for disabled persons in the two chosen cities. In this movie, the good facilities and the lack of facilities for disabled people are shown in green and red words. During the practical experience, we have seen a lot of differences between the two main cities. Budapest is not that accessible for physically impaired persons, because there is a lack of elevators, especially in the metro stations. A result of this is that the route for physically impaired persons is taking more time. This is better arranged in Utrecht: almost all of the vehicles are accessible for everyone. In both countries there is still a lot to do to accomplish total accessibility in the public transport, but both cities are on their way. In addition, we can conclude that not only the Dutch, but also the Hungarian public transportation for disabled people partly meets the laws of the CRPD. In the field of the accessibility of the public transportation, there have to be added some social and environmental facilities, like remarkable crossings on the roads in Budapest or extra elevators at Utrecht Central. Some facilities already fit the laws of the CRPD, for example the guidelines at Utrecht Central and the elevator at metro station 4 in Budapest. Besides, both countries dispose of signs written in braille. This observation meets the laws of the CRPD in the field of caring for universal and understandable facilities. The big amount of guides in both countries fits the laws of the CRPD in the field of caring for guidance.
This research is written by Lisa Brokking, Lauke van Dun and Larissa Versteeg, three international students from the Netherlands. In our home country, we are studying to become a primary school teacher. During the last four months (from September until December 2015), we studied Special Educational Needs at the ELTE University in Budapest. The minor Special Educational Needs consisted of various courses and assignments. The assignment of the course â€˜Fundamentals of Disability Studiesâ€™ had to be fulfilled by doing our own project, experiment or something else. After a short discussion about our topic of interest (public transportation), we decided to choose Orsolya Mikola as our mentor, a lawyer for people with disabilities on practical and theoretical level, dealing with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. Her interest in the question of reasonable accommodation (such as transport) and disability was the main reason to approach her. This research paper is focusing on the Dutch and Hungarian public transportation for visually and physically impaired persons during the journey from home to school. We did not only write a theoretical part about the accessibility of the public transportation for disabled people, but we also paid some attention to practical experiences. These experiences will be represented in a short movie (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwhennDVVqo) about the trip from home to school in the Netherlands and in Hungary.
This research consists of a comparison between the public transport for disabled persons in the Netherlands and in Hungary. There will be a comparison in the public transport for blind and physically disabled persons. It is easier to compare the facilities for blind and physically impaired people, because they are more visible. For example, you can see the guidelines for visual impaired persons. The purpose of our research is to look for the differences in the public transportation between the Netherlands and Hungary. We are interested in the differences, because we normally live in the Netherlands and we are now living in Budapest for four months. There are some visible differences between the accessibility of the public transport. We like to pay attention to adjustments in the public transportation for disabled persons. This is our interest, especially because we are focusing on our route from home to the university (in the Netherlands and in Hungary). Our research question is: ‘What are the differences and similarities between the public transportation in Geldermalsen/Utrecht (NL) and Budapest (HU) for physically impaired and visual impaired persons during the route from home to school and does this public transportation meet the laws of the CRPD?’. Firstly, you will find some information from the internet. The information is about the public transport in the Netherlands, the public transport in Budapest and the CRPD. The opportunities to make it easier to travel for disabled persons will be described by information from the internet and by an interview. In the theoretical part, the Nederlandse Spoorwegen/Dutch Railroads (‘NS’) and the transportation in Utrecht (‘U-OV’) will be called. Utrecht is a city in the middle of the Netherlands. Also the Hungarian transport, Budapesti Közlekedési Központ/Budapest Transport Centre (‘BKK’) will be discussed.
Finally the two systems will be compared with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (â€˜CRPDâ€™)1. Finally the routes which you can see in our short movie are our routes to school. You will see the travel from our hometown (Geldermalsen) to our school in Utrecht (The Netherlands). The second travel is the one from our home in Budapest (Ferenc Korut) to the university (Ecseri Ut). The route is available for visual and physically impaired persons. In Utrecht the route for disabled people and the regular route are the same. In Budapest, there are some custom routes for physically impaired persons. For example, there is a route from about one hour and for blind people the journey takes about fifteen minutes. In enclosure 1, you can find a map of the several routes you can take as a psychically impaired person. During our movie, route 3 is shown, because you can finish it in a shorter time (50 minutes). Route 1 takes 67 minutes and route 2 takes 65 minutes. This research will be fulfilled by an experiment. The journey in the Netherlands and Hungary is filmed and is shown during the presentation.
1 UN General Assembly, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, 24 January 2007, A/RES/61/106.
1. Theoretical part
Firstly, there will be information about the Dutch system (NS - U-OV). Then, the Hungarian system (BKK) will be discussed. Facilities for physically impairments will be called at first and will be followed by facilities for visual impairments. 1.1 The Dutch system (NS): In the Netherlands many trains are part of the NS. NS offers accessibility of the public transport for disabled persons. They have different possibilities to make traveling easier. On their website2 they describe their services for disabled persons. In the Netherlands you can travel with an OV-chip card (Openbaar Vervoer/Public Transport). This website 3 gives information about the use of the OV-card. If you travel by train, you have to check in and check out with your personal or anonymous OV-card. When you travel by bus, you can also buy a ticket if you do not have an OV-card. When traveling by train, this is not possible anymore (since the 9th of July 2014). You have to put money on this card before the travel starts. 1.1.1 Physically impaired persons Most of the Dutch trains offer special services for physically limited persons. For example, there is a special entrance for customers with a wheelchair. The width of the door is 90 cm and you are able to recognize the door by an international symbol. A lot of trains dispose of extra big places to secure the wheelchairs. Many trains dispose of a toilet accessible for wheelchairs as well. Services for physically limited persons are also available on the way to 2 NS Nederlandse Spoorwegen (n.d.). Reizen met een functiebeperking. On the 9th of November derived from http://www.ns.nl/reizigers/reisinformatie/informatie/reizen-met-een-functiebeperking. 3 OV-Chipkaart (n.d.). Uitleg Openbaar Vervoer. On the 17th of November derived from http://www.uitlegovchipkaart.nl/.
and at the train stations. The NS offer the service to facilitate the travel to the stations. You can use different types of taxicabs. As a disabled person, you often need a special pass. At the train stations, NS placed some elevators and ramps, leading to check in and check out places. There are also moveable bridges available on more than 100 train stations. The moveable bridges make it easier to enter or leave the train. You can also ask for extra assistance during the travel, but you have to arrange it before the travel (with a minimum of one hour). The assistance will be fulfilled by an educated NS-employee or a taxi driver. You have to carry your luggage by yourself. You can also arrange your own accompaniment. If you want this kind of assistance, you have to request for a special OV-companion card. Your accompany (one person) will travel with you for free. The card is useable in almost every train, metro, tram or bus. NS made rules for the transport of wheelchairs. The measures of the wheelchair have a maximum of 150 cm length and 70 cm width. The wheelchair and the user cannot be higher than 137,5 cm, including the luggage. This is necessary to fit in trains, elevators and moveable bridges. The weight of the wheelchair cannot be more than 200 kg (if you have to be pushed) and cannot be more than 300 kg (if you do not have to pushed). For the safety, it is not allowed to travel by train with a wheelchair with motor. 1.1.2 Visual impaired persons There are also special services available for visual impaired persons on the train stations. You can get travel information by a spoken text and MP3 files. If you want to use this services, you have to request for it. On the website of NS, you can find a link to read the travel information in a different way. They link to a special website for visual disabled people. There are digital screens available in most of the trains with up-to-date travel information and a good broadcast system. NS offers check in and check out places provided with braille
pictograms. At the train stations, you can find guidelines to these places. If there are no service providers on a smaller train station, you will always find an emergency phone provided with braille to contact a NS-employee. The assistance and accompaniment are also intended for visual impaired persons. Guide dogs for visual impaired people are allowed to travel with them for free. Visual impaired persons can use special cards instead of the OV-card. They can use the NS-business card. It is free to receive this card. You do not have to put money on the card, but you have to check in and check out every time. Monthly, the money will be transferred by an invoice. Visual impaired persons can also use the OV-chip Plus. The advantage of this card is that you do not have to check in and out. You have to call the NS to book your travel by phone. The money will be amortised monthly as well.
1.2 The Dutch system (U-OV): Customers with disabilities are normally able to use the trams and buses in Utrecht. The vehicles are equipped for them. U-OV is working on the accessibility for disabled persons in the public transport4. Especially they are renewing the bus stops. Just like the services from NS, U-OV has given disabled persons the possibility to get an OV-companion card. The rules for the use of this card are the same. 1.2.1 Physically impaired persons When you are physically impaired, you can use all buses in Utrecht. They offer special places for customers in wheelchairs. In every bus, there is just one place for a wheelchair. When you want to use this opportunity, you have to press the button at the second door. The bus driver will get out of the bus to expand the ramp. 1.2.2 Visual impaired persons In buses and trams in Utrecht, there is an automatically broadcast system. The system calls aloud every bus and tram stop. Otherwise, you can tell the bus driver where you want to stop and he or she will give you an extra warning when the bus is almost there. U-OV arranged special services for the payment as well. One of the opportunities is Sentire, this card is specially developed for visual impaired persons. The advantage of Sentire is a lower entry rate. An entry rate is amortised by checking in with your OV-card. When you enter the bus (or train, tram, or metro), you will pay a fixed amount of money. For example, in the bus you have to pay â‚Ź4 by checking in. After checking out, this amount will be calculated with the kilometres which the bus has made. Disabled persons with a Sentire-card have to pay â‚Ź1,20 with checking in. The consequences will be less negative if the person forgets to check out. 4 Utrecht-Openbaar Vervoer (2015). Toegankelijkheid. On the 25th of November derived from http://uov.info/onderweg/toegankelijkheid/.
Finally there exists an U-OV barrier-free card. This card is developed for travellers who are less or not able to use the regular OV-card. When you enter the bus, you only have to show the card to the bus driver, so you do not have to check in and out. Besides the barrierfree card, you have to be able to show a valid OV-abonnement. You will pay the costs afterwards.
1.3 The Hungarian system (BKK): The BKK is the centre for transport in Budapest. One of the most important missions of BKK is to provide equal opportunities for everyone and to make public transport services fully accessible and barrier-free. This applies not only to physical impaired users, but also to parents with strollers, elderly, young children, pregnant woman and passengers with luggage or bikes. In this research, there will only be focused on the bus, tram and metro from. BKK also has a trolleybus, boats and suburban lines in use, according to the website from BKK5. Accessible lines are marked by the following pictograms:
Unfortunately not all the stops of the metro, bus and tram are accessible. If you are physical impaired, it is recommended to plan your journey before you leave. It is possible to do this on the special website for accessible lines 6. The website displays accessible routes and vehicles. The website of BKK also shows an overview of all vehicles and their accessibility.
5 Budapesti Közlekedési Központ (2011-2015). Accessible Public Transport in Budapest. On the 15th derived from http://www.bkk.hu/en/accessible-public-transport-in-budapest/.
6 Budapesti Kozlekedési Központ Futar (n.d.). Trip planner. On the 27th of November derived from http://www.futar.bkk.hu/.
1.3.1 Physically impaired persons Most of the buses in Budapest are fully or partially accessible because of their low floors. At the bus stops, you will find timetables with underlined departures of the accessible vehicles. It is allowed for wheelchair users to enter the middle door (the door with a pictogram on it). Besides the door, there is also a place where the wheelchair can be secured during the drive. Besides the buses there is a midibus service (door-to-door) for physically impaired persons. The line disposes of three specially-designed vehicles and can be requested before travelling. The price of a ticket will be complete for the fellow traveller and cheaper for the physical impaired person. In Budapest there are four metro lines: M1, M2, M3 and M4 7. Only metro line 4 is fully accessible for wheelchairs. Metro line 2 and 3 have got a few accessible stations and metro 1 does not have accessibility. As a replacement, physical impaired persons can take (trolley)buses which drive almost the same route as the metro line. These replacements can be found on the website from BKK, under the heading of accessibility. The stations of metro 4 are all accessible by lifts. The vehicles are accessible by constructed platforms. In metro 2 and 4, there is a separate area where wheelchairs can be secured. Next to the nearest door, there is a large pictogram. In the future, it is the intention to make metro 1 and 2 fully accessible by adding elevators on each metro station. The accessibility of metro line 3 will be considerate. The few elevators are not only a problem for the accessibility of the metro, but also for the road crossings. For example, when you need to cross RĂĄkĂłczi Ăşt at Astoria as a wheelchair user, you cannot go below the street, because this is only accessible by using the stairs. The normal route (under the ground) takes 50 seconds. 7 Schwandl, R. (2011). Public transport in Budapest. On the 28th of November derived from http://www.urbanrail.net/eu/hu/budapest/budapest.htm.
Fenyvesi Zoltán, a wheelchair user did a little experiment and filmed it 8 while crossing Rákóczi út. Instead of 50 seconds, he fulfilled the route in 7 minutes and 17 seconds. Besides the missing elevators, there are not many pedestrian crossings next to the metro stations. Only tram lines 4 and 6 are barrier free and dispose of low floors. In these trams, there are also separate areas for wheelchairs and pram users.
8 Index (2015). Tippeljen, mennyi idö átjutni kerekesszékkel az Astorián. On the 1st of December derived from http://index.hu/video/2015/11/25/kerekesszek_astoria/.
1.3.2 Visual impaired persons Blind customers are allowed to travel for free in Budapest. To receive this ‘special card’, they need an official certificate issued by the Hungarian State Treasury. They also need an identity document or a valid photo published by the Hungarian Federation for the Blind and Partially Sighted9. The fellow traveller does not get discount on his or her card. The vehicles dispose of sounds when the doors are closing. These sounds can be heard by visual impaired persons and are a warning for closing doors. At metro station 4, you can find guidelines on the floor and in the elevators. At the BKK Centre, there was an interview with Monika10 and she said that all of the metro stations will get guidelines in the future. At the moment, the other stations are under construction. At most of the tram and bus stops, you can find squares (kind of guidelines) at places where the tram will stop and the doors will open. However, these squares cannot be noticed everywhere. Monika said that the BKK is working on better platforms for visual impaired people and that they want to make the transport more accessible. Unfortunately, the website of BKK does not dispose of a sound or a talking voice. You can only find written texts. There are no maps available in braille as well. BKK told us that it is possible to call the call centre for visual impaired persons. The call centre offers help with figuring out an available route. Now, it is clear that the guards who always stand in the beginning of the metro are helping people if they need it. Monika said that the guards are often with two or more persons, so they can guide visual impaired people if it is necessary. In the new vehicles you can also find braille below the buttons and signs.
9 Magyar Vakok és Gyengénlátók Országos Szövetsége (2009). Üdvözöljük a Magyar Vakok és Gyengénlátók Országos Szövetségének honlapján! On the 26th of November derived from http://www.mvgyosz.hu/. 10 Employer from the BKK Service Centre
1.4 Systems compared with the CRPD: First of all the introduction of the CRPD concludes a few promises from The States Parties. For example, it has to be recognized that disability results from social and environmental barriers. Barriers are limiting the participation of disabled people in society. An example is the public transport in Hungary and the Netherlands. Sometimes, the public transport is not totally adapted to persons with disabilities, as described previously. This promise actually prescribes the need to reduce or remove the barriers, like another promise from The State Parties determines: the importance of the accessibility to different areas for disabled people has to be recognized. The State Parties have to take care of universally designed facilities and services. To enable disabled persons you can promote their availability and use, written in article 41. â€˜To undertake or promote research and development of universally designed goods, services, equipment and facilities, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, which should require the minimum possible adaptation and the least cost to meet the specific needs of a person with disabilities, to promote their availability and use, and to promote universal design in the development of standards and guidelines (F); To undertake or promote research and development of, and to promote the availability and use of new technologies, including information and communications technologies, mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, suitable for persons with disabilities, giving priority to technologies at an affordable cost (G); To provide accessible information to persons with disabilities about mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, including new technologies, as well as other forms of assistance, support services and facilities (H); To promote the training of professionals and staff working with persons with disabilities in the rights recognized in this Convention so as to better provide the assistance and services guaranteed by those rights (I).â€™
The availability have to be promoted by the use of new technologies about mobility aids. For example information and communication technologies and assistive technologies. To improve assistance and services by training staff and professionals. This is also necessary to counter discrimination, as described in article 281: â€˜To ensure equal access by persons with disabilities to clean water services, and to ensure access to appropriate and affordable services, devices and other assistance for disability-related needs.â€™ Article 91 is about the accessibility for disabled people, to enable them to live independently and participate fully in life: â€˜To enable persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life, States Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter alia: Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces; Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services. States Parties shall also take appropriate measures to: a.
Develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and
guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;
Ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or
provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities; c.
Provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with
Provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in
easy to read and understand forms; e.
Provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guides, readers and
professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public; f.
Promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities
to ensure their access to information; g.
Promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications
technologies and systems, including the Internet; h.
Promote the design, development, production and distribution of accessible
information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.â€™
The States Parties pursue access on equal basis, for instance transportation. This means removing the obstacles and barriers (like roads, outdoor facilities) to increase accessibility. State Parties also take measures like signage in braille and easy to read forms to provide public facilities. They also provide accompany and promote access to actual information
and communication systems (including the internet). The technologies and
systems have to be accessible at minimum costs. In Hungary there is an option to retrieve customized directions by phone or online (according to BKK). In the Netherlands it is
possible and facile to request a special OV-card, as described previously. Article 21 1 also says that the use of languages has to be facilitated to give disabled persons the freedom to express themselves: â€˜States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communication of their choice, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, including by: a.
Providing information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in
accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost; b.
Accepting and facilitating the use of sign languages, Braille, augmentative and
alternative communication, and all other accessible means, modes and formats of communication of their choice by persons with disabilities in official interactions; c.
Urging private entities that provide services to the general public, including through
the Internet, to provide information and services in accessible and usable formats for persons with disabilities; d.
Encouraging the mass media, including providers of information through the Internet,
to make their services accessible to persons with disabilities; e.
Recognizing and promoting the use of sign languages.â€™ According to article 121 the CRPD provides access for the support with legal capacity
to disabled persons;
‘States Parties shall take appropriate measures to provide access by persons with disabilities to the support they may require in exercising their legal capacity.’ Workers in the field of administration of justice need to be able to help people with disabilities to justice, this can be found in article 131; ‘In order to help to ensure effective access to justice for persons with disabilities, States Parties shall promote appropriate training for those working in the field of administration of justice, including police and prison staff.’ Article 181 calls the rights of disabled persons to liberty of movement, on an equal basis with others; ‘States Parties shall recognize the rights of persons with disabilities to liberty of movement, to freedom to choose their residence and to a nationality, on an equal basis with others, including by ensuring that persons with disabilities.’ The personal mobility is important according article 201; ‘States Parties shall take effective measures to ensure personal mobility with the greatest possible independence for persons with disabilities.’ This sentence tells that disabled people can move independently. They can request for accompany, but they have to be able to transport themselves. In the Netherlands they want to make sure that the transport is available for everyone, but they are working on it right now. It is the same in Hungary, not every conveyance is accessible for disabled persons (to travel without accompany) right now. This all applies to disabled children as well, like you can read in article 231;
‘States Parties shall undertake to provide early and comprehensive information, services and support to children with disabilities and their families.’ Article 241 describes that disabled children need to be taught at school to learn and use Braille and alternative modes of communication; ‘States Parties shall enable persons with disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community.’ To facilitate their full and equal participation in education and community. This all leads to fully participation of disabled people in public life, like article 291 validates; ‘Ensure that persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others.’
2. Practical experience in Budapest
For the practical part, we wanted to experience the different routes for visual impaired and physically impaired persons from our home to the faculty of Special Educational Needs (â€˜SENâ€™). There are found two routes , one normal route (enclosure 3) and one route accessible for wheelchairs (enclosure 1). The first route is the one we normally take to the university (enclosure 3). Firstly we take tram 4/6, then metro 3 and at last there is a little walk. This route is accessible for persons with a visual impairment. Route one, is the route that is used for the movie to compare the transport in Hungary and in the Netherlands. The journey from our home to the tram is difficult, but possible for a visual impaired person. The route contains a lot of stairs, the building does not have an elevator. At the first stop were the journey begins there are remarkable tiles for visual impaired people. The doors open exactly at the place where the tiles are placed. Besides the tiles there are no guidelines. In the tram are priority seats next to every door. After one stop we transfer to the metro. The only way to get downstairs is by using the stairs. Still, there are no guidelines but luckily there is a guardrail. To enter the metro there is an escalator. Upstairs there are standing two guards, so if it is necessary they can guide persons to the metro. At the platform downstairs there are only remarkable tiles on the end of the platform. When the doors are closing, you hear a warning sound. In the metro they call out loud the next destinations before the stop, so visual impaired people know where they are. At our final metro stop (Esceri ut), there are only stairs to get up. The walk to the university has got low floors and to enter the university there is a ramp next to the stairs. The doors open automatically and in the building you can find guidelines to the classrooms and elevators. The
guidelines have little triangles pointing to the classes left and right. They are also pointing to the elevators, this triangle is ripped with a different kind of material. Finally our conclusion is that the faculty of Special Education is completely accessible for impaired persons. The second route (enclosure 1) is accessible for wheelchairs, mentioned on the website. This route started by taking the tram from Mester utca to Boraros ter H. Unfortunately we could not continue our journey there. When we left the tram there were no elevators, only stairs. Also, it was not possible to cross the crowded street. However, the website mentioned this route would be accessible, this was not true. We stopped following this route and found at home a new route (enclosure 2). This time we checked the platforms on the BKK site. You can see an overview of accessible platforms. Apparently the route planner was not up-to-date. This route also started by tram. When we walked to the platform, there were found two drawn wheelchairs on the ground. The tram door with the pictogram for wheelchairs stopped exactly at the same place. On the left side of the tram there was a place where the wheelchair could be secured during the trip. The door we entered had no belts for the securing of a wheelchair. That was a disadvantage. Next to the empty belts there was a special stop button for persons in a wheelchair. When you push this button the tram driver will know that he or she needs to stop a little bit longer than normal. The tram floors were low, it was accessible for a wheelchair to get in and out. At station Blaha we got out and transferred to bus 5 (bus 7 is also possible). The walk from the platform to the bus stop was low floored. The bus was not low floored, but luckily there was a platform at the middle door. In the bus there was a place for a wheelchair and also a special stop button. At last we changed from bus 5 to tram 3. We got out of the bus at a platform, here would also arrive the tram. This was a modern platform, it was accessible for wheelchairs and for visual impaired persons. The guidelines on the floor were really clear. The tram was low floored and had a special place for a wheelchair. This tram had belts for 25
security and a quite big place for the wheelchairs. The stop at our school and the way to the university were totally low floored. To enter the university there is a ramp next to the stairs. The front doors open automatically if a person wants to get into the university. In the building you can find elevators and signs to find the elevators like we mentioned before.
This research is done to find an answer to the following question: â€˜What are the differences and similarities between the public transportation in Geldermalsen/Utrecht (NL) and Budapest (HU) for physically impaired and visual impaired persons during the route from home to school and does this public transportation meet the laws of the CRPD?â€™ It is notable that there are differences between the public transportation in Geldermalsen/Utrecht and Budapest. Firstly, when you buy a ticket in the Netherlands as a visual impaired person, you can choose between four adapted cards. The OV-chip Plus and the NS-business cards are accessible when you are travelling by train (NS). Sentire and the UOV barrier-free card can be bought when you are travelling by bus (U-OV). You have to pay for the public transportation, but the prices will often be lower than the prices for nondisabled people and the money will be transferred afterwards most of the times. When you are doing a journey in Budapest, you can receive a travel card for disabled people which gives you the opportunity to travel with the vehicles of BKK for free. As a visual impaired person, it is possible to plan a journey on your own, by using auditory websites. This is only possible in the Netherlands. In Hungary you have to call the BKK or you have to go there by yourself. This has become clear from a short interview with Monika, an employee of the BKK. The guidelines are also different in both countries. In Utrecht you can find guidelines all over the station and remarkable crossings on the streets as well. The streets and platforms in Budapest have less of these. Only the newest platforms have got more guidelines and remarkable crossings. Besides, most of the platforms in Budapest are not renovated and not accessible for wheelchairs, because of the large amount of stairs and the lack of elevators. Only the newest platforms dispose of elevators. An example is the elevator at metro station 4. In contrast to Hungary, most of the stations in the Netherlands have got an elevator, even the small ones. At 27
the bigger stations in the Netherlands (like Utrecht Central Station and Amsterdam Central Station), you can find escalators besides elevators. In Budapest there are many escalators, which do not contribute to the accessibility of the transport from BKK. There are also many similarities between the public transportation in the Netherlands and in Hungary for visual impaired persons. For example, both of the countries take care of sounds with closing doors. Besides, you can find broadcasting systems in both Dutch and Hungarian vehicles. The only sound you will miss in Budapest, is the sound of the traffic lights. You can also find remarkable tiles in both of the cities. They are often remarking the end of platforms or streets. Besides the sounds and the tiles, you can notice braille at different spots in Geldermalsen, Utrecht and Budapest. The buttons in the elevators and vehicles are examples of these spots . In most of the trams and buses, you can also find signs which are translated in braille. For physically impaired persons, you can find ramps and low floors in a lot of public facilities. If a vehicle do not have a low floor, there will be a ramp. In most of the types of transportation, there is a possibility to secure your wheelchair with belts. These wheelchair places are provided with a low stop button, to get more time when leaving the vehicle. Most of the vehicles and buildings are provided with automatically opening doors. Visual and physically impaired persons are taking advantage of this. We do not only conclude this from the information on the Internet, but we do also conclude this from our own experiences in Geldermalsen, Utrecht and Budapest. Finally, the research into the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) showed that the CRPD disposes of a few laws about the public transportation for physically disabled and visually impaired people. The main goal of the United Nations (the
organization that founded the CRPD) is to treat disabled people equivalent to non-disabled people, also in the area of receiving access to workers in the field of administration of justice. It can be concluded that the United Nations (founders of the CRPD) are showing willingness to make all public places, information technologies and communication systems accessible for disabled persons by removing all types of social and environmental obstacles and barriers. It is the intention to take care of adapted facilities and services for disabled persons. This way, they want to make sure that disabled people get an opportunity to travel on their own with the liberty of movement. In both of the countries, we experienced some obstacles in the public transportation that have to be removed to make travelling more accessible for disabled persons. An example is the lack of guidelines on some places in the Netherlands In Utrecht, there are no guidelines between the bus stop and the university. In Hungary, the stairs can be experienced as a great barrier to travel for disabled persons. However, some obstacles have been removed last years. In the Netherlands, the train station Utrecht Centraal is still being renovated. During your walk through the station, you will find guidelines everywhere: you will be following them from the platforms to the exits of the station. The obstacle of the lack of guidelines has been removed. In Hungary, the station of metro 4 has been renovated. The obstacle of using the stairs has been removed by adding an elevator. Summarizing, in the area of accessibility can be concluded that the public transportation has not fully met the laws of the CRPD yet, but one is working on it. Besides, the United Nations think it is important to look after trained guides and assistance for the support of physically disabled and visual impaired people. While filming our route through Geldermalsen, Utrecht and Budapest, there is not noticed any guidance. Though, the information from the interview with Monika (BKK) and our experiences with travelling by train and bus in the Netherlands (NS and U-OV) has shown that the employees
of NS and BKK will always be able to help disabled people when it is necessary. So, in the field of accompaniment, the public transportation has already met the laws of the CRPD. Finally, one of the main ideas of the United Nations is to make all of the signage and actual information comprehensible for disabled people all over the world. This can be done by teaching alternative ways of communication at school. It is the mission of the United Nations to make sure that all changes will be done universally. During our trip from home to school, there is noticed a lot of signage written in braille in both of the countries. Braille is a type of universal signage: every disabled person is able to read and understand it. Summarizing, in this field, the public transportation for disabled people has already met the laws of the CRPD.
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UN General Assembly, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities : resolution / adopted by the General Assembly, 24 January 2007, A/RES/61/106. Utrecht-Openbaar Vervoer (2015). Toegankelijkheid. On the 25th of November derived from http://u-ov.info/onderweg/toegankelijkheid/.
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