The upcoming Hyderabad Metro Rail will set a benchmark amidst all other metros in the country for the consideration it has lent in setting up special facilities catering the differently-abled folks.
The metro coaches will have an elevated mass transit system where people who are wheelchair bound, audio or visually impaired, or even those with speech or cognitive disability can move about freely.
“We have considered the needs of the disabled right from the design stage itself at the ground level, entry/exits, escalators, lifts, fare gates, ticket vending machines, tiling on the platform or the signages for their convenience,” N.V.S. Reddy, HMR MD, told The Hindu.
To facilitate a barrier-free environment, the commissioned private partner L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad (L&TMRH) has fixed ramps at the road level to help wheelchairs easily manoeuver into the lifts.
Also, spacious lifts with handrails are part of the project to easily accommodate wheelchairs.
The authorities have taken special care to have a minimum gap between the train floor and platform so that wheelchair-bound passengers encounter no problems while boarding the metro.
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Some of the other features include lift operating buttons with information in Braille script at all levels of the station, a tactile strip that will be fixed from the street level till the edge of the platform to aid the visually impaired navigate their way and specially designed ticket vending machines to help the speech impaired folks.
However, the best feature is the inclusion of special “grab holds” that will hold the wheelchairs steady in their designated spaces allocated in the train.
Also, all the stations will have specially assembled toilets that will assist the physically challenged with grab bars and supports. Even the automatic fare collection gates are constructed wide enough to enable easier mobility.
To cater those with partial visual impairment, cognitive disabilities and even the illiterate, special signages with images in high contrast levels will be installed to enable easy access at different areas in all stations and trains.
“Announcements would be made in three languages of English, Telugu and Urdu inside the metro rail during transit, about the arrival station, on which side of the platform the door will open and safety aspects,” added Reddy.