Train travel is important. It’s less polluting and it is less costly. However, currently it is still not fully accessible to those who wish to use it.
The revision of the EU Rail Passengers’ Regulation (1371/2006) could improve the lives of millions of people with reduced mobility (potentially over 80 million Europeans with disabilities and 200 million Europeans aged 50+, not including travellers/tourists from outside the EU). A current proposal of the European Parliament is reduce to the period of pre-notification from 48 hours to 2, allowing millions of persons with reduced mobility more freedom to use the train. While it is not perfect, it is a step in the right direction. Unfortunately, several Members States are blocking this step.
Accessible, affordable train travel is not only a question of human rights, it’s a question of environmental sustainability. As persons with reduced mobility are not able to access train transport, they are forced to turn to more polluting and expensive alternatives, such as cars. Some Member States such as Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands already have national provisions that go beyond the request of a minium 2 hour waiting time (see fact sheet attached).
EASPD has joined the European Disability Forum, 13 MEPS and over 200 European and national organisations to demand that EU leaders walk the talk for human rights and sustainable development.
The letter demands that Member States don’t exclude persons with reduced mobility from accessing more environmentally sustainable options and support the proposed reduction of pre-notification for assistance.