By Alison McMeans www.thenational.ae
DUBAI // The Dubai Metro will be free for disabled passengers by February next year, the RTA announced today.
The rail agency and the Ministry of Social Affairs are in the process of finalising the details.
The director of planning and development made the announcement at the Rehabilitation International Conference yesterday, explaining the system would work in a similar way to Salik’s system for people with special needs.
“Some disabled people, especially if they have problems in the body and cannot walk, are permitted to go through Salik without fees,” said Abdul Al Hassan, from the RTA [the director].
“Who it will cover, I don’t know, but there will be an agreement. There are special blue cards for people with disabilities with personal information which will work with the system.”
The Metro was designed to accommodate passengers with all levels of abilities.
“We do implement international standards. We try as much as we can to provide services to meet the needs of peoples with disabilities in our projects. We are not specialists but are engineers who execute projects. The information that we get from the government is the basis for our work.”
The universal access design begins outside the station. Surrounding each entrance is 500 metres of pedestrian-only access. There are also signs directing people with special needs to the entrance.
The pedestrian bridges that cross Sheikh Zayed Road feature moving sidewalks to make it easier for people to get to the station.
There are lowered ticket counters, to accommodate people at wheelchair height. In each station there are also specially trained personnel to help people with disabilities.
Inside the station there are special textured tiles on the ground designed to guide blind people onto the platform. Coloured lights indicate when the doors to the train are opening and closing.
There is space for one wheelchair in each carriage, in all classes, with emergency buttons placed at a height someone in a seated position could reach.