By Headley, Rowland George Allanson-Winn

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Were such an accident to happen, it seems likely that the operator would be held liable but there is little evidence of any such incidents or their outcomes. Although many of the physical aspects of vehicles and rolling stock have been settled, there is still much to be done in actually implementing them and there is still room for further innovation. The APEX system in Prague is a good example of innovative thinking that can provide effective assistance for some disabled passengers. 4. Specialised services While as a matter of principle, the general policy in all the cities visited is to achieve full accessibility of their services, it is recognised that for some people, some of the time, a service more closely tailored to their needs is required.

Grenoble has six specially adapted buses, which provide both a regular and an on-demand service for disabled people. The service is operated on an experimental basis in conjunction with taxis to provide a good level of service for users, mainly blind and partially sighted people. In 2001 the service carried over 27 000 passengers. In Gothenburg, in common with other parts of Sweden, there is a Special Transport Service (STS) for disabled people. To use the services, a person must have a doctor’s certificate stating that they are disabled.

While the development of accessible bus and tram stops is essential, it is also important to ensure that the surrounding pedestrian environment is also accessible. This responsibility rests primarily with the local authority. • The effective enforcement of parking restrictions at and around bus stops is absolutely necessary, otherwise the benefit of low-floor, step-free access is lost. This requires stringent, consistent and enforced policy at the local authority level. • In order to make construction provisions more effective, affordable and easier to design, it is desirable for local authorities, operators and vehicle manufacturers to rely on some degree of standardisation in wheelchair dimensions and restraint devices for transport purposes.

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