Berlin's local transport operators BVG and Deutsche Bahn AG offer mobility training for people with motor impairmant on how to get along with the modern transport system.
Background & Objectives
In Berlin both local transport operators BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe - bus, tram, underground) and Deutsche Bahn AG (local trains) offer mobility training for people with reduced mobility (PRM). Through this training people in need can learn easily and in a quiet atmosphere without any stress how to use the facilities that make the modern transport system accessible. Similar services exist in Barcelona (Spain), Frankfurt (Germany), Hannover (Germany) and Salzburg (Austria).
Both an underground and an S-Bahn train are parked at the platform where, during the training period, there is no regular public transport service. People who don’t feel confident moving in public transport get the chance to practice how to access the train, explore platforms, and see how doors and ramps work. Furthermore they have the chance to talk to each other about their experiences and discuss their interests with drivers as well as with representatives of disability organisations and of transport operators.
The same is done with buses and trams. Dates are announced so that people with reduced mobility can access mobility-training events in the maintenance and storage facilities. Necessary information, along with the chance to try out trams and buses and ask questions should lower inhibition thresholds and encourage the use of accessible public transport in Berlin.
On the BVG webpage there are pictures and movies from the mobility training events as well as small instructional movies that show how to enter the vehicles sitting in wheelchairs. In addition, real-time information concerning the status of lifts at stations is shown, as well as station area maps with comprehensive facility information. Lifts that are out of order are also shown directly in the interactive net scheme online and - as a new feature - announced twice daily in a radio programme. All these services are also valid for the Berlin S-Bahn, which is provided by Deutsche Bahn.
Similar mobility training programmes exist in many other cities. Sometimes more theoretical aspects are provided such as “How to read timetables and maps” and “How to deal with the ticket vending machine and find the most suitable fare” These are all training measures that make elderly people very grateful.
Links for further information (in German):