On the 1st of September 2021, EUD attended an online conference on long-distance, cross-border passenger rail services. The event was organised by the Mobility and Transport (DG MOVE) at the European Commission. Steer group hosted the presentation of the study and the subsequent discussion. Steer Group is an infrastructure and transport consultancy firm that is undertaking the study for the European Commission. The purpose of the event is to present the emerging results of a study on how to enable the growth of these rail services, including night trains.
The event began with presentations on topics ranging from the study’s objectives to the market potential of night trains. In the feedback session, the participants divided into two groups to talk about the obstacles facing rail services and passengers’ rights. The groups included representatives from rail companies from all over Europe as well as organisations representing various demographics of passengers.
The discussion topics ranged from infrastructure capacity and rolling stock to accessibility. Toju Popo, EUD’s Policy Assistant, stressed the importance of accessibility at rail stations for deaf persons, particularly in terms of sign language training so that staff can communicate with deaf passengers and having updates and emergency information provided in sign languages and a visual way. Ms Popo remarked on the need to remove environmental barriers and ensure accessibility for deaf persons.
The event was an excellent opportunity for the EUD to raise the importance of sign language availability in rail travel and learn about different private and national public perspectives on long-distance cross-border rail services. Steer Group will finalise the comments on the study and present the results to the European Commission later in 2021.