The ticket gates must be easily identifiable and usable for everyone. For this reason, NS is working with various consumer and interest groups in order to achieve this.
Making stations accessible
NS is working on clearly understandable ticket gates with help from consumer and interest groups such as the Oogvereniging and ieder(in). For example, all sets of gates have one wider gate for wheelchair users, which is 90cm wide clear passage rather than 60cm. In almost all cases, the wider gate can be found on the right hand side when entering the station. This is just one of the measures that NS is taking in order to optimise the accessibility of controlled access stations for passengers with disabilities.
Everyone can use the gates
The wide gates are marked with wheelchair symbols. There are also illuminated signs featuring wheelchair symbols, hanging above these wider gates. This way it is possible for passengers to see where the wider gates are earlier, and get in line for the right gate on time. At stations where multiple carriers are active, the gates are marked with carrier-specific colours with contrasting logo's, the name of the carrier and an indication as to whether the gate is for the train or metro. In addition, the glass in the gates is marked with stickers. This allows easy identification of the correct gates and ensures that there is enough contrast. The glass meets the European (TSI) standard for accessibility.
Tactile guiding lines
For visually impaired passengers, the main routes at the station are marked with tactile guiding lines that lead through the wider gates. The card readers are marked with braille and the sounds made upon successful or unsuccessful check-in/check-out are clearly audible. NS is working with the Oogvereniging to investigate the best ways to further improve the tactile information. In response to a recent 'gate test', we are looking into ways to further optimise the throughput time for blind passengers with guide dogs. Passengers can use the alarm and information poles next to the gates to contact a member of our service staff at any time. This way support is available and the gates can be opened remotely. These poles are also marked with braille.
Routing, Signing & Branding Agreements
In order to provide the best possible general support to passengers when they check in and out with their chosen carrier, NS led the development of the Routing, Signing & Branding (RSB) framework of agreements. Gates look the same to passengers wherever they are. Many parties have made a contribution, including public transport carriers, ProRail, Bureau Spoorbouwmeester, ergonomists, and consumer organisations such as ieder(in), the Ouderenbond ANBO and the Oogvereniging.
The toolkit includes design guidelines for the OV-chipkaart facilities at stations: the poles for checking in and out, the gates, the transfer points and the signposting. While drawing up the design guidelines, the needs of passengers with disabilities were explicitly taken into account. Clearly visible logos, language-independent communication (pictograms) and contrasting colours have been used. All check in and check out poles are marked with a newly designed 'card here' pictogram; a large pink OV-chipkaart symbol with a hand on a contrasting grey background. This pictogram indicates exactly where the passenger must hold the OV-chipkaart. In addition, this pictogram has been marked with braille text stating 'place NS OV-chipkaart here'.
The design toolkit that was developed for the OV-chipkaart facilities leads to clearer markings, using a combination of text colour, logos, pictograms and shape elements. This means that information is provided as effectively as possible, including to passengers who are colour blind, dyslexic, non-Dutch or low-frequency travellers. For example, at all gates, poles and transfer points, those with low literacy can see the carriers colour, logo, name and pictogram, so there is always a recognisable element to help them find their way. For signposting, pictograms have been designed for transferring, topping up and checking in and out. These words are also visible in the pictograms. The combination of words and pictures is very effective for people with lower literacy levels.
In close consultation with the CG-Raad, the Oogvereniging and regional carriers, NS Reizigers has developed a product that makes travelling with an OV-chipkaart much simpler for visually impaired passengers. This product is called the OV-chip Plus. Customers who have the OV-chip Plus can book train journeys with NS by calling a free telephone number. When they do this, it is no longer necessary for them to check in or out.
Online demonstration of an NS Ticket Machine
In order to support customers who are interested in purchasing OV-chipkaart products, NS Reizigers has made an interactive online demonstration of an NS Ticket Machine. The main principle of the demo is simplicity. The NS Ticket Machine is explained step by step, with as much visual information as possible. As a result, customers with limited powers of comprehension can use the demo to practice operating an NS Ticket Machine while sat at their computer at home.