Easy boarding, barrier-free access to information, travelling safely – everyone benefits from unobstructed mobility. By the end of 2023, our passengers will be able to enjoy barrier-free access to all stations and trains throughout the entire BLS network. In this manner, BLS will meet the requirements of the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act in all of its trains and at all of its 119 stations and stops.
Measures here include the installation of wheelchair-accessible ticket machines and emergency phones, as well as ramp handrails with bent ends. Lighting and public address systems also need to be improved.
In addition, BLS will lengthen and raise platforms to ensure level-access boarding and exiting with the new trains it will be commissioning.
These measures will benefit not only passengers with limited mobility and those with hearing and visual impairments but also elderly passengers or travellers with pushchairs or a large amount of luggage.
Two-thirds of BLS passengers can already board trains with barrier-free entrances.
As far as stations are concerned, BLS will be able to comply with the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act in most cases through refurbishment projects that have already been planned. BLS is definitely on track in terms of implementing the changes required by the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act by the end of 2023: the majority of BLS trains already meet requirements for low-floor access, wheelchair-accessible toilets and visual and acoustic information systems. From 2021 onwards, BLS will begin putting approximately 60 new trains into service to replace its oldest commuter trains, which are not in conformance with the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act. With regard to infrastructure, almost half of BLS’s 119 train stations were already barrier-free by the end of 2016, while two-thirds of BLS passengers can now board trains with barrier-free entrances.
It’s not always possible for railway companies to implement all the construction changes required at railway stations by the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act. In some cases, this is due to the fact that a train station lies in a curve and trains are banked when they stop, while in other cases train stations are located on a slope, which makes the associated construction measures more difficult. In these exceptional cases, the government commissions the railway companies to conduct cost-benefit analyses to ensure costs don’t get out of control. BLS is currently examining a few train stations to determine whether or not the construction measures associated with the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act can be implemented at a reasonable cost. One thing is certain, however: none of BLS’s 119 stations will be decommissioned in connection with the Swiss Disability Discrimination Act.