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In the Netherlands, 2 million people have a disability. For example, they are visually impaired, blind or deaf, have a physical or mental disability or psychological problems. They still experience obstacles in public transport, as a result of which they make little or no use of it.

Everyone should be able to travel by public transport. Also people with disabilities. That is why State Secretary Vivianne Heijnen (Infrastructure and Water Management), regional administrators, public transport companies and ProRail signed the Administrative Agreement on Public Transport Accessibility 2022-2032 today.

In this agreement, agreements have been made to ensure that public transport is fully accessible to everyone by 2040. In the Netherlands, 2 million people have a disability. For example, they are visually impaired, blind or deaf, have a physical or mental disability or psychological problems. They still experience obstacles in public transport, as a result of which they make little or no use of it. The Netherlands previously signed a UN treaty in which it was agreed to do something about this. This treaty is the basis for the agreement signed today.

“With this administrative agreement, we have made good and achievable agreements that will ensure that public transport becomes more accessible. I am making EUR 10 million available for the implementation of the agreements. I would like to see that we have removed all barriers that make the use of public transport more difficult for people with disabilities tomorrow, but that is not realistic. The core of this agreement is the conviction and commitment of all parties that everyone in the Netherlands should be able to travel by public transport and that we will work very hard to achieve this in the coming years.”

The signatories have agreed, among other things, that travel information will become simpler and clearer, the accessibility of stops and platforms will be improved and that assistance will be provided more often to ensure that everyone can travel by public transport. It has also been agreed that people with disabilities and their representative organizations will be involved in drawing up new policy.

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The agreement should, however, lead to noticeable improvements in practice. Think of quickly solving problems with faulty elevators.

“Concluding this administrative agreement is an important step towards more accessible public transport for people with disabilities. The agreement should, however, lead to noticeable improvements in practice. Think of quickly solving problems with faulty elevators, travel assistance or inaccessible platforms. Travelers should also be able to actually make use of the improvements for which this agreement is intended.”

All parties see the administrative agreement not as an end point but as a starting point. Not all trains have toilets yet, but agreements have been made about how this will be done. Not all bus stops in the Netherlands are accessible yet, but there is now a plan for how this should be achieved by 2040.

“Good and affordable access to public transport is of great importance to everyone. All the better that there is now an agreement that also specifically monitors accessible public transport for people with disabilities. Partly for this reason, we have urged the IPO to keep public transport afloat during this difficult time. The signing of this Administrative Agreement is a recognition for me that the central government is committed to this together with us.”

"ProRail works wholeheartedly on making railways and stations accessible and we will continue to do so. We realize that the use of public transport for people with disabilities can be a challenge and we continue to take steps. We also applaud that other forms of public transport improve access for people with disabilities, so that we are working on a barrier-free journey anytime, anywhere and for everyone."

Before 2032, the signatories of the administrative agreement are already taking major steps towards accessible public transport by 2040. The parties assume that the effect of the administrative agreement will be noticeable for travelers in the short term, according to the National government

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“As NS, we think it is important that all travelers feel welcome on the train. It is good that we are now joining forces with all parties for accessible public transport. We are already doing a lot, such as the NS travel assistance that is available at more than 200 stations. A journey without barriers is what we continue to work on: accessible public transport for everyone every day! ''

Middle photo: Andre Muller /Shutterstock.com

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