Volunteers suggest a more disabled-friendly Pune metro
To get to know first-hand whether the metro is adequately equipped for persons with disabilities (PWDs), the Maha Metro – Pune Metro on Tuesday organised a visit to the Sant Tukaram metro station at Pimpri for volunteers from various organisations for the specially-abled. Turns out the volunteers were satisfied with some arrangements even as they gave suggestions to modify others to make the metro more PWD-friendly.
Hemant Sonwane, general manager of Maha Metro – Pune Metro, said, “The visit was to give them a first-hand look at the metro station and it is obvious that the station has all the facilities for the specially-abled. A wheelchair-bound person can easily board a train without anybody’s help. All facilities have been provided.”
Whereas orthopaedically challenged Diksha Dinde, a national youth awardee who works on accessibility and inclusive education for PWDs, said, “It was very good initiative by the Pune Metro to invite all specially-abled people to visit and give their suggestions.”
“I found my wheelchair stuck in the gap between the platform and train and that would be problematic for people who are visually impaired as chances are they will not see the gap which could lead to an accident. There is a need for signs inside the metro with big writing as people with low vision find it difficult to read small fonts.
“The wash rooms were not accessible and should be built in such a way that a wheelchair can go inside.
“There should also be supporting bars inside that will benefit the specially-abled,” Dinde said.
Anita Iyer - accessibility, diversity and inclusion consultant and disability rights’ advocate and founder of the Ekansh trust – gave a few accessibility suggestions. “The Maha Metro – Pune Metro is taking very good initiatives for PWDs. The Ekansh trust has given a few more suggestions to make the journey easier for the specially-abled,” she said. The Ekansh trust is empanelled by the ministry of social justice and empowerment, government of India.
Suggestions by Ekansh trust
Reflective flooring is confusing for those with low vision.
Toilet doors open inwards.
The gap between the train and platform can be corrected with a retractable ramp.
More pictorial signage using standard international colour codes required for better visibility.
Tactile strip inside the train needed to indicate entry and exit points.
Signage on platforms needed to indicate the closest entry to wheelchair slots.
People with hearing impairments noticed there was no emergency button for them while there was an emergency microphone for others to speak to the engine driver. Emergency button suggested next to the microphone.
Areas below steps/stairways need to be blocked off