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Disabled person in Metro Barcelona, Source: The Guttmann Institute

When Barcelona transit system and people with disabilities meet

When Barcelona transit system and people with disabilities meet

This year marks a 20-year collaboration that fosters acceptance

Any modern urban transit should be unthinkable without provisions in its infrastructure and vehicles for people with reduced mobility. However, it is good to simply think beyond hardware and enter into a world of empathy, understanding, solidarity and inclusivity of all kinds of people in all walks of life.

To that end, the urban transport authority of Barcelona (TMB) has reminded everyone that this year marks a 20-year anniversary of a collaboration which began between it and The Guttmann Institute, a hospital specializing in helping people with disabilities stemming from neurological conditions.

Autonomy in mobility is linked to confidence and self-assuredness

Back in 2000, TMB drivers started doing volunteer routes on weekends out of solidarity and to help disabled people get to different points in the Barcelona metropolitan area. In 2011, this collaborative agreement was extended even further to provide space for specialized workshops.

These workshops are held by volunteer TMB employees who meet with patients from the Guttmann Institute with the aim of showing them how the different installations in buses and the subway work and in that way help them feel more comfortable about using them.

Last year, for example, 8 such workshops were conducted led by 26 volunteers. These benefitted 64 people and an additional nearly 900 enjoyed the use of 43 specialized bus services. This year, due to the pandemic situation the workshops have been temporarily suspended.

However, it is assured that once the situation normalizes they will resume full force once again.

It is good to be aware that this type of programme benefits not only people with mobility issues who get the chance to practice negotiating the urban architecture in a supportive environment but also the employees from TMB who have the chance to experience the world from an alternative point of view and thus foster a sense of solidarity and cooperation.

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