Merseyrail in the north of England has a set of new trains with a low floor at each doorway with an intelligent sliding step. The technology uses a sensor to detect the distance to the platform. Then a reinforced automated step slides out to bridge the gap between the train and the platform. It’s commonly used in Switzerland which means it is well tested. If other countries can order trains with universal easy access, why can’t that be done across Australia?
Perth in Australia has a similar convenience to Merseyrail so that no-one has to mind the gap when getting on and off. You can read more about the Merseyrail project on the Intelligent Transport website: Improving Accessibility on Merseyrail with New Trains.
The new Sydney Metro has designed a close match between the train doors and the platform. It means that most wheeled devices can make the transition from the train to the platform. But every other train system in Sydney, including Light Rail, still requires a station attendant to put out the ramp for wheelchair users. And this has to be pre-arranged. Parents with prams, people with luggage or people a little unsteady on their feet still need to “mind the gap”. How about some retrofitting with this technology? That would save staff time and provide dignified independent access for all. Other passengers would be happy too.
The top picture is the Merseyrail train, and the bottom picture was taken in Perth. You can just see the yellow “bridge” between the train and the platform.