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More empathy towards vulnerable travellers in Budapest

Thanks to INCLUSION, transport staff in Budapest were trained to increase their competency in recognising and assisting vulnerable users. A crowdsourcing platform was designed to collect feedback and opinions by the users on transport services.

In particular, participation in the EU-funded INCLUSION project enabled Budapest’s public transport operator BKK (Budapesti Közlekedési Központ (BKK), to study and assess travel demands of passengers with additional needs and also to provide a series of sensitisation training activities for employees who encounter and assist these passengers on a daily basis.

In the Budapest-based project, five target groups were specified: blind and visually impaired; disabled; travellers with luggage or baby buggy; tourists; foreigners staying in Budapest long-term. To help the target groups move around more easily, two pilot interventions were undertaken.

The aim of the first pilot was to compile a training manual of sensitisation training which would help employees when encountering customers facing transport-related challenges, and assist them in comprehending passengers’ additional needs and daily transport needs. In the pilot, 85 employees working in the transport sector (customer service persons, ticket sales persons, bus drivers) participated in the sensitisation training in May and June 2019. By drawing on the experience gained from the sensitisation training, the training material was developed; based on which, regular further training can be held.

The aim of the second pilot was to create an online public announcement interface where customers with disabilities could record details of their everyday transport challenges and also about best practice they experienced. The platform, titled, ‘Without barriers’, has been made with the inclusion of the Hungarian NGO Járókelő Association and also with stakeholders working in equal opportunities. The online public announcement platform was open for six months between October 2019 and April 2020 within the framework of the ‘Without barriers’ campaign; however, based on the good experiences, BKK along with the Járókelő Association prolonged the availability of the platform. Therefore, it is still currently open and is providing a two-way communication with the target groups on a continuous basis.