Creating common rules for public transport accessibility in the EU
Gunta Anca, Vice-President of the European Disability Forum (EDF) and Chair of the Expert Group on Transport, explores how the proposed European Accessibility Act will effect persons with disabilities accessing inner-city public transport.
What is the European Accessibility Act?
On 2 December 2015, the European Commission published a proposal for a law which is known as the ‘European Accessibility Act’1. Once this proposal is adopted, it should lead to common accessibility requirements covering products and services across the European Union (EU). Currently, there is no specific EU legislation on accessibility for persons with disabilities. The proposed European Accessibility Act has the potential to make several products and services accessible for all people in Europe, including 80 million persons with disabilities and 150 million elderly people.
The European Disability Forum (EDF)2 has been following the development of this legislative proposal since 2011. In fact, the adoption of a strong European Accessibility Act has been one of the main objectives of its ‘Freedom of Movement’3 campaign.
The proposed European Accessibility Act takes the form of a directive, which is legally binding, meaning that EU Member States will have an obligation to apply what the Act mentions. However, the proposal foresees that only certain products and services need to be accessible. These are mainly: