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Evaluations

LAKE NAVIGATION

 

In order to grant full accessibility of the service to disabled passengers, companies operating lake navigation should consider the following fundamental aspects:

  1. BOAT ACCESSIBILITY
  2. WHARF ACCESSIBILITY
  3. TIMETABLE INFORMATION CONCERNING THE ARRIVAL OF ACCESSIBLE BOATS
  4. TICKET OFFICE ACCESSIBILITY

Now, let’s analyze the points of weakness and of strength of each of these voices:

 

BOAT ACCESSIBILITY

Generally speaking, boat accessibility for disabled passengers is granted by the presence of:

  1. Gangways to get on/off the boat
  2. Absence of passages with reduced width (< 75 cm)
  3. Lift (only for boats with several levels)
  4. Disabled toilet 
  5. specially allocated wheelchair spaces
  6. visual and acoustic signals and orientation signs for the sensory impaired.

 

Points of weakness

  • Boats never have specially allocated wheelchair spaces and this can jeopardize the comfort and safety of these passengers.
  • Navigation companies confirm that on board their boats there are no suitable devices that might allow the independence and safety of the sensory disabled.

Points of strength

  • Despite the fact that most boats do not have the above mentioned devices, however navigation companies declare that most lines are served by boats that can be used by disabled people.

 

WHARF ACCESSIBILITY

The main problem for disabled persons when getting on and off a boat is how to cover the gap between the boat and the wharf. This is generally done by using gangways, which should have the following characteristics:

  • Are large enough to let a wheelchair pass (at least 70 cm)
  • Are not too sloping (maximum gradient: 8%)
  • Are made of anti-sliding material
  • Have side handles

In order to grant getting on and off operations of disabled passengers, gangway accessibility is not the only element to consider.
Wharf accessibility can be prevented by:

  • Presence of steps and other barriers to reach it
  • Crazy paving or surfaces made with materials that are not suitable for wheelchair passage or for people with physical impairments (gravel, sand, etc.)
  • Absence of suitable protections and tactile paths for the visually impaired.

 

Points of weakness

  • As far as lake navigation of the Lombardy Region is concerned, there is no official mapping of wharf accessibility and of the surrounding area.

A disabled passenger has to call the navigation company directly to get information on the accessibility of each single wharf. However, navigation companies can’t give information on the accessibility of car parks and on the possible obstacles that can be found when going from the car park to the wharf.

 

TIMETABLE INFORMATION ON THE ARRIVAL OF ACCESSIBLE BOATS

Points of weakness

  • There are no official timetables with the arrival time of boats equipped for the transport of disabled people.

Navigation companies don’t have a clear communication policy pointing out which aspects of the service are accessible for disabled passengers and what is the procedure to follow. The lack of this information and the consequent uncertainty on the accessibility of the service discourage disabled people from using this kind of transport.

Points of strength

  • The company “Navigazione laghi Maggiore, Garda e Como” suggest calling during the day to get timetable information concerning accessible boats. This information isn’t spread by navigation companies.
  • The company “Navigazione Lago d’Iseo” allows the customer to book ahead for a certain day and time an accessible boat on a certain line. This information isn’t spread by navigation companies.

 

TICKET OFFICE ACCESSIBILITY

Ticket offices of companies operating lake navigation are the infrastructures where you can buy tickets and get information on prices, boats and schedules.
To allow disabled people to fully use this mean of transport, it is important to make these infrastructures accessible.

Points of weakness

  • There is no official mapping on the accessibility of such infrastructures. A disabled passenger must get in touch with the navigation company and ask information on the accessibility of each single ticket office and of wharfs.