Light rail in Pisgat Ze'ev 521.
(photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Knesset Subcommittee for the Regulations for Equal Rights for the Handicapped Law approved regulations on Wednesday requiring light rail trains to provide accessibility to people with disabilities.
According to the subcommittee decision, local trains, such as the light rail in Jerusalem and the expected light rail in Gush Dan, must make a number of adjustments in order to cater to the handicapped population.
Among the approved regulations, each train car must install at least two doors for entry and exit for a person in a wheelchair and the button to open the car door must be highlighted and marked for a person with visual impairment.
Furthermore, the path leading to the designated seating area for wheelchairs must be free from obstructions, and stairs and the car floors must be constructed from non-slip materials.
In addition, the regulations call for a public address system to inform passengers in each train car at a “clear and slow pace” the name of the next station and must contain an electronic sign with the station names.
Adjustments to provide accessibility will also be made at the light rail stations and the central station from which the light rail departs.
“This is another step in the revolution of accessibility,” said MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz), chairman of the subcommittee. “More than one million Israeli citizens live with varying types of disabilities, and accessible public transport is a major means to fully integrate them into society.”
The regulations require final approval from the Knesset Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee, which is expected to approve them without objection.
“These regulations are a positive step in protecting the rights and access for people with disabilities to public transportation, but they are not enough to create a truly inclusive system,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation in response to the decision.
“The operators of the public transportation system and the general public need to be educated and made aware of the rights people with disabilities to access the system. I believe that raising awareness will be critical to the success in enforcing these new regulations.”