08 Sep Is new Tashkent overhead railway accessible for disabled people? (video)
Anhor.uz journalist Dana Oparina, together with members of the Association of Disabled People Farhad Abdurakhmanov and Oybek Isakov, checked a new overhead railway in Tashkent for accessibility for disabled passengers and people with reduced mobility. Below I am providing the English translation of the article in Russian published at Anhor.uz on 6 September 2020.
The new metro line in #Tashkent pleased many: the city residents noted that the stations have an accessible environment for disabled people. But the monitoring by https://t.co/six8CZ3Nd2 journalist @Dana_Oparina and the Association of Disabled People showed the opposite. pic.twitter.com/KNEIwEuR0B
— Sharoit+ (@SharoitPlus) September 6, 2020
According to the law ‘On Social Protection of Disabled People in the Republic of Uzbekistan’ and urban planning regulations, state bodies and enterprises are obliged to create an accessible environment for the unhindered use of public transport by disabled people. However, the new overhead railway line which has recently been put into operation does not comply with the legislation.
Farhad Abdurakhmanov, First Deputy Chairman of the Association of Disabled People said: “At the station “Dustlik-2”, on one part of it the elevator for disabled people did not work. Metro employees explained this simply: the elevators do not work due to the fact that people ride them. I would suggest placing a person at the elevator who would explain the purpose of the elevator.”
Farhad Abdurakhmanov said that he had to run after the station attendant to introduce himself and ask to provide assistance.
“It degrades the dignity of a person, we did not ask for something supernatural, but asked the employee to do his job,” he says.
The First Deputy Chairperson of the Association believes that it is necessary to conduct an educational course for metro workers to better communicate with people with limited mobility.
Farhad Abdurakhmanov noted that the bulk of the workers on the new line are polite, helpful, ready to help. The sixth and seventh stations of the new overhead line turned out to be completely unsuitable for wheelchair users. At the seventh station (Kuilyuk bazaar) there is a ramp with a 45-degree slope, but according to the accessibility standards it should not exceed 8 degrees.
“The ramp cannot be that long, otherwise it must have a different slope. It would be better to install a lift or an elevator at the seventh station.”
A member of the Association noted that a lot of money was invested in the construction of the new overhead railway – there are tactile pavings, roller captions in the cars for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
“But it turns out that they only thought about people who can move independently,” he concludes.
As a result of monitoring, it was revealed that stations No. 2, 3, 4, 5 of the new overhead railway line have elevators and escalators, that is, they are adapted for the movement of disabled people. But at the time of monitoring, the elevators at the stations were not working.
Oybek Isakov, Chairperson of the Association of Disabled People said: “Stations No. 6 and No. 7 are in no way adapted for the movement of disabled people. Imagine that a disabled person entered the metro at the Dustlik-2 station, which has an accessible environment. This man went to the Kuilyuk bazaar, that is, to station No. 7 – he simply cannot leave this station. It is a nonsense – a person entered the metro, but cannot get out.”
Impressions from the metro immediately deteriorate, he notes. The Chairperson of the Association sees the reason for the shortcomings in the fact that the ‘O’zbekiston Temir Yo’llari’ national railway company did not coordinate the project with disabled people’s organisations when designing the metro stations.
“If we were involved at the stage of design and commissioning of stations, we would point out the shortcomings and they would not exist now,” Oybek Isakov believes.
A member of the Association told about the case when the blind employee of the Association, Abdulla Abdukhalilov, twice fell on the rails at a metro station three years ago. Abdukhalilov survived, but it was this incident that gave impetus to the appearance of tactile pavings for blind people in the metro.
“The only caveat to the tactile pavings at the new metro stations is that they are too close to the edge of the platform. It turns out that the signal about the danger appears to be at the edge of the platform. It is necessary that the tactile paving is at a distance of 70-90 cm from the edge of the platform,” concluded Oybek Isakov.
During the monitoring, it also became clear that there is a large gap between the platform and the metro carriage – this does not allow a wheelchair user to smoothly enter the carriage and one has to resort to outside help. Members of the Association noted that the stopping time on the platform should be longer so that a wheelchair user could get out of the carriage.