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June 20, 2014

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Metro admits special access inadequate

THE Metro operator has admitted that access facilities for people with special requirements are inadequate at older Metro stations.

Accessibility for Metro commuters with special requirements has been in the spotlight this week after 10 commuters were injured on an escalator at People’s Square Metro station on Wednesday, after a baby stroller became jammed at the top.

Metro officials said only closed strollers should be taken on escalators and passengers with strollers or wheelchairs that do not close should use elevators.

At Zhongshan Park Station, the transfer station for lines 2, 3 and 4, passengers with wheelchairs and strollers must leave the station and cross Kaixuan Road to transfer, for otherwise there are 50 steps to climb.

Two elevators are located at the ends of the third-floor platform shared by lines 3 and 4. Passengers press a button to call for Metro staff to activate the elevators.

For those who want to transfer to Line 2, after reaching the first floor, commuters have to walk over 50 meters and cross Kaixuan Road to reach the Line 2 elevator.

“We are aware of the inconvenience. We are also sorry that commuters have to wait for a few minutes as we are short of staff, and it’s a long walk to reach the elevator from the service center,” a staff member told Shanghai Daily, who appeared five minutes after the service button was pressed.

Passengers said the system was inconvenient.

“I always see people carrying luggage struggle to climb the steps when transferring from Line 2 to lines 3 and 4,” a commuter surnamed Zhao said. “I help mothers I see holding a baby and with a stroller, standing in front of the steps without knowing what to do.”

A staff member of Zhongshan Park Station told Shanghai Daily that the elevators are used around 40 to 50 times a day. He said staff are always ready to help, though some passengers don’t feel like waiting and making detours to take the elevators.

The mother whose baby stroller became stuck in the escalator in Wednesday’s incident said in a TV interview that she chose to use the escalator instead of looking for an elevator to save time, as the latter was too troublesome.

The Metro operator said the inconvenience was caused by early designs when accessible facilities were not required.

Adjustments will be made better serve passengers with special requirements, added a Metro official.

Other stations where passengers must exit and enter again to transfer include Jing’an Temple, Zhenping Road, Changshu Road and Longyang Road.


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