Electronic ticket sales for disabled people on trains contributing to significant increase in travel
The Russian Railways' holding company is carrying out complex work aimed at increasing comfort and convenience on long-distance trains for passengers with reduced physical capabilities.
In January-July 2017, passengers with disabilities purchased 28,326 tickets for special compartments designed for people with limited mobility on long-distance trains.
Ticket sales in the seven months of 2017 have therefore already almost reached the total for the whole of 2016, when 28 543 tickets were bought for these compartments.
In the current year, utilisation of the places in specialised compartments increased to 23.8%, up considerably from 16.8% in 2016.
To improve the quality of service for passengers with disabilities, since April 2017 passengers can purchase electronic tickets for long distance trains for disabled people using wheelchairs through the Russian Railways website after they have registered themselves at the Russian Railways' Mobility Assistance Centre.
In connection with the rising demand for such services, the Federal Passenger Company, a subsidiary of Russian Railways, has been increasing the number of carriages with a specialised compartment for disabled people every year. In total, 631 carriages are currently in service on trains operated by the Federal Passenger Company. By the end of the 2017, it is planned to increase their number to 658 units by acquiring new and modernising existing carriages.
Specialised carriages have a compartment for the comfortable travel of one disabled passenger, including with a wheelchair, and the person accompanying him or her. The carriages feature lifting gear, increased door widths and a vestibule zone and corridor to allow the passenger to move around on a wheelchair.
If there is no train with a compartment for the disabled which is going in the direction the passenger requires, such a carriage can be included in the train by submitting an request to the Mobility Assistance Center of Russian Railways or a ticket office.
It is recommended that requests should be submitted 60 days before the ticket go on sale for the train in question.
Requests submitted after the start of ticket sales, including if seats in the specified compartment have already been sold, are also considered, but in this case, the chances of meeting the request are reduced substantially.
Requests take no more than five working days to be consiseraed when submitted before the tickets go on sale and no more than 10 working days when tickets are actually on sale.
Low-mobility passengers can also be provided with escort services and assistance, including tickets and boarding at railway stations, by submitting a request 24 hours beforehand to the Mobility Assistance Centre of Russian Railways.