Brussels trams more accessible for wheelchair users thanks to rubber edge
The Brussels public transport company MIVB/STIB has, together with the Accessibility Collective Wallonia Brussels (CAWaB), developed a new solution to help people with reduced mobility to get on and off trams easily. It involves installing a rubber border on the platform and a rubber border on the tram carriage.
These ensure a smooth transition for wheelchair users and parents with prams, older people, or people with luggage because it reduces the gap between platform and vehicle. The point is: a part of the old platforms also needs to be elevated. The complete redevelopment of the network will take ten years.
To make it easier for wheelchair users to get on and off, there are two requirements: the platform must be 31 cm high, just like the tram, and the rubber edges ensure that there is no gap.
Local elevations will be built on the existing, older platforms for this purpose. This will be done at the level of the second door of the tram carriage, which is reserved for people with reduced mobility.
MIVB/STIB’s new tram platforms will be systematically built at the height of 31 cm and will have a rubber strip over the entire edge to bridge the gap.
According to Nino Peeters, president of CAWaB and a wheelchair user himself, in Brussels in particular, more than 30% of the population are considered to be people with reduced mobility.
“Of course, this solution should have been installed yesterday, so to speak, but it takes time to undo past mistakes,” he said to De Standaard. “We, therefore, hope that this solution will also be applied systematically to the new M7 metro that will come into service in the summer.”
In metro stations with lifts, MIVB/STIB offers a free assistance service to people who have difficulty crossing the space between the platform and the metro carriage. Assistance is free of charge. Assistance is provided daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and can also be booked in advance.