Last year, České dráhy provided assistance to a record-breaking number of passengers with impaired mobility. More than 8,500 transport operations were made through the ordering system of the largest Czech railway carrier last year. Thanks to the expanding network of wheelchair-accessible trains, thousands of other people with impaired mobility travelled without the assistance of the carrier, and therefore they are not included in the statistics. Over the last six years, i.e. from 2018 to 2023, České dráhy provided travel assistance to more than 41,000 passengers with impaired mobility and orientation.
Last year, České dráhy arranged for a total of 8,584 registered transport operations for passengers with impaired mobility and orientation through the order system. “Compared to 2022, this number has increased by approximately 1,300 people, and at the same time also the last pre-Covid year, i.e. 2019, has been surpassed as well. This confirms last year's statistics, according to which passengers, including those with impaired mobility and orientation, gradually returned to trains after the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Michal Krapinec, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of České dráhy, and adds: “We value enormously the trust of passengers with impaired mobility and orientation, and in order to accommodate these customers as much as possible, we are planning to put into service approximately 120 new barrier-free trains in both regional and long-distance transport this year. Thanks to this step we are able to make the transport of passengers with impaired mobility much easier again.”
Nevertheless, the total number of people with impaired mobility and orientation, such as blind people or people in wheelchairs, is substantially higher. Thousands of these customers can now travel on accessible and low-floor train sets without assistance on the part of the carrier and are therefore not included in the statistical figures for assisted passengers.
The number of people with impaired mobility and orientation travelling completely unassisted will tend to increase significantly in the upcoming years. This will be facilitated also by the new meaning of accessibility signs at individual train services, which was introduced in December 2023. Suitably equipped trains are now marked with the symbol indicating a “low-floor carriage suitable for wheelchair passengers” or a “carriage with a lifting platform where a transport order is recommended”. For these trains, an order of transport and assistance from the carrier is no longer necessary. České dráhy has more than 3,000 such trains in its timetable. In addition, three quarters of all train services operated now by České dráhy offer facilities for transporting wheelchair passengers, and this number will continue to increase thanks to the extensive modernisation of the rolling stock. Travelling by train for people with impaired mobility has never been as easy as it is now in the entire history of the railway transport.
The assistance (escort) service is provided to all customers with impaired mobility and orientation, regardless of the type of their health difficulties. Passengers are provided with the accompanying service within the framework of the railway station (to the ticket office, information desk, luggage storage, etc.), when arriving at the train, leaving the train or changing between trains. It is possible to order transport assistance by using the order form available on the ČD website, by calling the ČD Customer Service Centre on 221 111 122 or at the ticket counters.
Currently, České dráhy operates almost 700 barrier-free units and carriages, which ensure almost 6,700 barrier-free trains in the 2024 timetable. This already represents three quarters of all train connections operated by České dráhy. More than 50 RegioPanter electric multiple units, almost 60 RegioFox diesel multiple units and eight ComfortJet units for express trains are to be added to the wheelchair-accessible trains this year.