In order to ensure that all customers can travel on Wiener Linien’s services in a flexible and safe way, accessibility has been, and continues to be, a core issue when designing vehicles, stations, guidance and orientation systems. There is a particular focus on people who have a physical disability, or a hearing or visual impairment.
Low-floor technology on the tram, bus and underground
The popular ultra-low-floor (ULF) trams have been in service throughout Vienna for more than 15 years now. In 2010, over 50 percent of journeys were made with ULF trams for the first time. Every year, around 20 older trams are replaced by the air-conditioned ULF models.
Wiener Linien’s bus fleet is already composed of entirely low-floor vehicles that can be hydraulically lowered even further if required. The low boarding height makes it much easier for elderly people, as well as people in a wheelchair or with a pushchair, to board and alight buses.
The modern V trains are also designed to be accessible. In addition to more space for passengers in wheelchairs or with pushchairs, the gap between the edge of the platform and the train has been minimised and additional fold-out ramps installed.
Barrier-free access to all underground stations and to over 95 percent of tram and bus stops is ensured by means of ramps and lifts, meaning that Wiener Linien is a leading example for accessibility throughout Europe.
POPTIS and barrier-free internet
When planning new systems, Wiener Linien works closely together with disability associations and self-help organisations from the very beginning so as to be able to properly understand the specific needs of customers and to serve them in the best possible way. One of the most successful examples here is the POPTIS guidance system for blind people (Pre-On-Post-Trip-Information-System), which was developed by Wiener Linien together with organisations for blind people.
POPTIS directions can be accessed on the barrier-free version of Wiener Linien’s website, which also contains current reports and other relevant information. The website has been specially designed for screen reader programmes that automatically read out the text, ensuring that even blind and visually impaired passengers have unrestricted access.
Tactile guidance system
Many underground stations, in addition to the area around a number of stops, are equipped with a tactile orientation system to facilitate orientation for visually impaired and blind passengers. The system comprises bright, raised guidance strips on the platform floor that run parallel to the edge of the platform. Additional strips branch out in different directions to mark the way to lifts, stairs or escalators.
Blind or severely visually impaired individuals with their principle place of residence in Vienna may – just like any other annual pass holder – take a dog free of charge with their annual pass. If the dog has not been state-certified and entered in an orange disability pass issued by the Federal Social Welfare Office, then the dog must wear a muzzle.