Accommodation, search/booking channels and airports are aspects of travel perceived to have the most satisfactory accessibility conditions, while train stations and trains lie at the other end of the spectrum, based on the Voyage of discovery: Working towards inclusive and accessible travel for all report released by Amadeus and conducted by consulting firm Ilunion.
When it comes to trains (scoring 5.07 out of 10) and railway stations (4.99), respondents indicated that the biggest barriers are signage, digital panels and screens, coordination problems between stations in origin and destination points and a lack inconsistency in accessibility requirements across the system (such as different meanings of ‘wheelchair accessible’ at different stations).
And while accommodation got a score of 6.24, the highest among other trip areas, barriers remain – mainly in toilets for people with mobility issues and a mismatch between accessible conditions advertised and what is delivered.
The report further revealed that at airports (5.71), the largest accessibility challenges include inadequate provision of assistance service, inadequate signage in terminals and difficulties in movement through terminals.
Overall, the report found that one of the biggest barriers to accessible travel is inaccurate or incomplete information being available, coupled with a lack of skilled customer service. The report also shows that travellers with accessibility needs increasingly expect these to be met as part of the mainstream service and at no extra cost.
The role of technology in accessible travel is becoming more important, the report stated, with specific developments such as voice recognition starting to be seen as commonplace.
One in every six people in Asia has some form of disability, which translates to 650 million men, women and children, according to Amadeus, adding that the number is expected to rise over the next few decades due to population ageing, natural disasters, poor working conditions and other factors.