August 22 2021
TOKYO – Japanese railway operators are accelerating efforts to allow people on wheelchairs to take a train without the help of station staff members.
They are working to reduce vertical steps between train floors and platforms and horizontal gaps between trains and platforms so that wheelchair users can get on and off a train by themselves like other people do.
Many railway operators started such renovation in earnest after the transport ministry set barrier-free standards for the steps and gaps, partly to prepare for the Tokyo Paralympics, which will kick off on Tuesday.
Changes of a few centimeters can allow people with reduced mobility to travel freely.
For a wheelchair user to get on and off a train without other people’s help, the height of a platform section in front of a train car door should be raised by a slope. Also, a rubber device should be installed to narrow gaps between trains and platforms.