Monday 1 July 2024

51st edition of the PASSAGE meeting hosted in Lisbon

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The 51st edition of the UIC Accessibility Group of Experts (PASSAGE) meeting was chaired by Paola Negri and held in Lisbon, Portugal, featuring a technical visit of the Lisboa St. Apolonia station. The session was kindly hosted by Comboios de Portugal (CP), who provided a warm welcome and an extensive presentation on the company’s accessibility initiatives, assistance services, and rolling stock systems.

Vanessa Perez Miranda, UIC Senior Advisor for the PASSAGE Group, opened the session by introducing Bertrand Minary, the new director of the UIC Passenger Department, who joined online to share the latest updates from UIC and announce upcoming events including the General Assembly in Lisbon on 3 July 2024 and in Paris on 13 December 2024.
The meeting also highlighted the results of two important UIC surveys: the impact of training on employee self-efficacy in assisting people with reduced mobility (PRM) and those with additional needs, and the Rail Sustainability Index Survey, aimed at assessing improvements in the accessibility of rail transport. A new initiative, the PASSAGE Visual Database, was also introduced. It is designed to consolidate key data related to accessibility services into single, informative posters for each company.

Further discussions included the new version of the PRM Assistance Booking Tool (PRM ABT) website, which now offers contact information about assistance services on different European railways not only for businesses but also for the general public. Modifications to adapt the PRM ABT tool for employees with visual impairments, the new budget allocation, and new requirements for automatic email notifications were also discussed.

A roundtable discussion brought together representatives from various European rail companies, who shared updates and details on their new initiatives aimed at enhancing PRM assistance and accessibility in their respective countries.

The technical visit to the St. Apolonia station allowed members to observe and evaluate the use of ramps, lifts, and updated equipment on the rolling stock.

The PASSAGE meeting underscored the ongoing commitment to advancing rail accessibility and mobility for all, reflecting a global dedication to fostering a more inclusive and accessible future in rail transport.

The next PASSAGE meeting is scheduled to take place in Dublin, hosted by Irish Rail, with dates to be announced.

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