The 29th PASSAGE (Passenger Accessibility Solutions Support and Action Group for Europe), Working Group meeting took place on 16 and 17 October, under the direction of Mr Adam Drabik from MAV-START. Mrs Paola Negri (Trenitalia) chaired the PASSAGE meeting after the retirement of Mr Hans Christian Kierketeerp Moller from DSB. UIC was represented by Mr Clément Gautier, Advisor for the Passenger Department. Representatives from Trenitalia, MAV-START, Trafikverket, SNCF, SBB, RFI, Eurostar, PKP, RENFE, ÖBB, NMBS/SNCB and Avancial attended the meeting.
During the first part of the meeting, Mr Gautier introduced the DIGIM project. One element of DIGIM has transformed autonomous mobility for blind people within railway stations through BEACON technologies. This proof of concept is being developed in Ottawa Railway Station by VIA Rail. The purpose of this is to give the opportunity for each PRM to select their journeys and thus get guided by their smartphone without assistance in station. Now, the POC is turning into a Pilot and it will be developed in different railway stations in Canada. PASSAGE members are very interested in developing new way of autonomous mobilities for PRM. VIA Rail will present the final deliverable during the General Assembly in December, including recommendation guides and white papers. The purpose of the next step is to involve PASSAGE and SMGG members in a work programme in order to produce an International Railway Solution (IRS) for PRM issues in railway stations and perhaps take this concept further.
As usual, Mr David Sarfatti (Avancial) presented the latest statistics in the use of the UIC Booking Assistance Tool as well as the potential interest to develop a Smartphone Application in order to fulfil the new Passenger Rights Regulation about the spontaneous assistance in Railway Stations for Person with Reduced Mobilities (PRM). For now, the discussion is still on-going, and the PASSAGE Members will keep talking about this opportunity during the coming meetings.
The second day of the PASSAGE meeting focused on EU regulatory developments on PRM issues and the New General Data protection regulation. UIC would like to give special thanks to Mrs Sandra Dobler from CIT for sharing her expertise on the new European regulatory development on PRM issues and on the impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the PRM Assistance Booking Tool.
Finally, the participants went on a well-organised technical visit to Budapest-Keleti Station led by Mr Dabrik. During this visit, the Hungarian staff explained the new projects and objectives for MAV-START about the accessibility in station as well as within the trains. Moreover, MAV-START now has the opportunity to introduce the new rolling stock for the commuter services.
The next meeting will take place in Prague on 5 and 6 February 2019.