Hidral Gobel S.L., Hidral S.A.'s company dedicated to manufacture, import and distribute lifting platforms, ramps and safety elements to facilitate accessibility to all types of passenger transport vehicles, participated in a historic union with ONCE Foundation and CONFEBUS to organize the first meeting of urban transport in the country which focused on universal accessibility and inclusion of people with any type of disability to ensure that public transport is a right that everyone can enjoy equally.
The meeting, which took place in Seville, brought together the main companies in the public transport sector to identify the greatest barriers to accessibility in transport in order to come up with common solutions. This initiative, which is a pioneer in our country, arises from the need to have a roadmap to achieve the common goal of achieving accessible and universal mobility.
The meeting began with a welcoming speech by Rafael Barbadillo, president of CONFEBUS, who reminded that "accessible transport is a social right, an essential service that must be regulated and adapted to the needs of the entire population". He emphasised the number of people with disabilities in Spain, more than four million people with disabilities, that one in six Europeans has a disability and that one in 20 people need assistance on public transport and in stations. "Much progress has been made in terms of accessibility in transport, but there is still a long way to go," he stressed.
Those attending the meeting were also able to learn about the reality faced by people with disabilities when it comes to accessing public transport. Through a dialogue between Álvaro Urech, Director of Innovation at Alstom, and Esther Ramiro Barranco, ex-player of the Spanish National Basketball Team in a wheelchair and Universal Accessibility and Innovation technician at the ONCE Foundation, under the title 'Knowing the needs to design accessible mobility'. They discussed the need for accessibility in transport to take into account all kinds of difficulties, whether mobility, visual, auditory or cognitive, that any user of public transport may have, not only people with recognised disabilities. "The needs are different and, therefore, the solutions must be different, but adapted and valid for everyone", they stressed.
The day was highly participative and interactive, with a large part of the event taking the form of working tables in which participants from different sectors interacted, combining synergies and achieving very positive and encouraging results. These participative work sessions, guided by Hidral and Hidral Gobel managers, resulted in a manifesto, read by Fabio Sgardi, Hidral Gobel's general manager, in which the institutions present, companies of the sector and associations of people with disabilities commit themselves to continue working on innovative solutions that make possible a close and accessible urban transport to all people at all times. "We believe that accessibility is a challenge that concerns us all. Only through collaboration between public administrations, companies in the sector, associations of people with disabilities and society as a whole can we break down the barriers that still exist in the means of transport", they have agreed.
From Hidral, with special attention to our accessibility division Acros By Hidral, we bet for an accessible design that includes all the areas in which accessibility should be present: infrastructures, vehicles, information, technology at the service of people, training of employees and social awareness. And it must have the guarantee of efficiency and sustainability, as well as the backing of public administrations. And we applaud initiatives by companies such as Hidral Gobel that bring to the table issues of this calibre that are of public interest and on which we must all work to achieve universal accessibility that allows us all to move freely and on equal terms.