Disabled Access to the Hessentag

A couple with a wheelchair - ©Can Stock Photo Inc. / lisafxIn preparation for the Hessentag, the town of Oberursel and the local transport operators have been pulling out all the stops to make the town as accessible as possible.

For example, by the time the Hessentag starts, all of the stations between Weißkirchen and the Hohemark on the line U3 will have been modernised and allow you to get in and out of the trains without steps to go up or down.  There are ramps from the pavement up to the platform, and the platform is at the same level as the floor in the train.

When the main station is finished, there will be a new tunnel linking Oberursel’s town centre with Bommersheim.  The tunnel has a lift up to the platform between the S-Bahn tracks.  Due to the ongoing building work, I have not seen what the access outside the station is going to be like, but on the building plans it appears that there are long ramps planned at both ends of the tunnel.

Most of the buses in Oberursel are the so-called Niederflur type, meaning that the floor is set very low and by tilting the bus, a ramp is formed from the pavement into the middle of the vehicle.  Separate push-buttons on the outside and inside of the bus allow passengers to indicate to the driver that they require this.

For the duration of the Hessentag, car parks for the disabled will be located close to the main car parks P1 and P2, and just off the Oberhöchstädter Straße near the Maasgrund for easy access to the town centre.

But one of the more innovative measures has been incorporated into the new U-Bahn platforms.  These now have special tiles laid into the platform surface, which allow blind people to feel with their feet how to get to the trains and where the edge of the platform is.

The keyword for all of this in German is Barrierefrei – literally “without barriers”, and a lot of work has been taking place to make sure that Oberursel is exactly that: Barrierefrei.

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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