The Hyderabad Metro’s friendliness towards physically and visually challenged passengers was evident during a test ride taken by Telangana ministers, MLAs, MLCs and journalists from Nagole to Mettuguda on Saturday, ahead of the inauguration of a 30-km stretch by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 28. Among the highlights are road-level ramps for wheelchairs, wide corridors for easy maneuverability at stations, extra wide automated fare collection gates, spacious lifts with Braille buttons and a tactile strip till the edge of the platform to help the visually challenged navigate better.
“In designing the stations, lifts, fare gates, ticket vending machines, we have made it possible for the physically and visually challenged to transcend their limitations. It is a barrier-free environment from the street level to the train. Physically and visually challenged people can travel in the metro without any assistance from anyone”, said HMRL Managing Director NVS Reddy. The ticket vending machines are also designed to assist passengers with speech impairment.
Besides, all stations have special toilets for the physically challenged with support bars, minimal gap between the platform and train floor so that wheelchairs do not get stuck and spaces allotted for wheelchairs in every coach. Signs and symbols have been designed with high contrast levels to help partially blind persons and those with cognitive disabilities.
“Great experience,” Municipal Administration, Urban Development and IT Minister K T Rama Rao said after the ride. “The metro should reduce vehicular traffic in the city and therefore pollution. We should not face a situation like New Delhi where schools and government offices had to be closed due to smog. HMR and L&T are making sure that all those using the metro enjoy the ride. The fares will be very competitive compared to metro fares across the country,” he said.