1. The right to mobility
Article 27 of Law 118/71 states, among other things:
"...public transportation services and in particular streetcars and subways shall be accessible to non-ambulatory disabled persons..."
The decree that implemented this rule dates back to 1978 (Presidential Decree 384/78), to which Law 41/86 must be added.
All of these regulations tend to facilitate the mobility of people with disabilities by their own or public transportation.
We must add that with the issuance of the Ministry of Transport decree of 18/7/91, all buses, both for public and private use, with a number of seats higher than 9 used for the common transport of disabled persons and other passengers, including those used for school transport, must meet certain technical requirements, such as to allow access to non-ambulatory persons and wheelchairs.
Subsequent standards have dictated rules in specific fields:
- Law 104/92 art. 26 - It obliges Regions and Municipalities to ensure the mobility of disabled people even where public transport is not accessible.
- Law 21/92 provides that cabs must also be accessible to the disabled. Asking municipalities to regulate and define the minimum number of cabs used to transport the disabled.
- D.P.R. 503/96 calls for public transport to be equipped with those devices that allow for the safe transportation of the disabled. Art. 24 of the decree requires subways to reserve at least three seats for people with walking difficulties, to have enough space inside a car to accommodate a wheelchair, and to facilitate access to the subway by installing elevators.
- D.M. 236/89 art. 2 that recommends the installation of devices that signal the proximity of sources of danger, in particular for the blind (sound traffic lights), braille writing for elevators and light signals for the deaf and dumb.
- The Italian Post Office has begun to set up counters accessible to the disabled in application of the D.P.C.M. of January 30, 1996 (Quality Charter for the Public Postal Service).
ARTICLE 20 OF THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES addresses PERSONAL MOBILITY. "Moving and getting around independently is very important for people with disabilities.
Personal mobility has many aspects: traveling, moving from one place to another in a city, moving within a building.
States need to make it easier for people with disabilities to get around. But people themselves decide how they prefer to get around. People with disabilities must have access to everything that facilitates mobility."
2.1 Travelling by car
Disabled people, with physical or sensory limitations, can obtain a special driver's license for categories A, B, C and D, subject to verification of physical and psychic requirements by special "local medical commissions", set up in each province of the Piedmont territory through the ASPs of the provincial capital. Special licenses may be limited to driving vehicles of particular types and characteristics, as well as with certain adaptations prescribed by the local medical commissions.
The necessary limitations and adjustments must be noted on the license. According to the Highway Code, the special license must be renewed every five years. The actual duration may be less, in fact it depends on the type and degree of the holder's pathology, which could be subject, even in the short term, to worsening.
For the disabled person who buys or adapts a vehicle registered in their name (or in the name of a family member or a child with tax liability) there are some tax benefits:
- exemption from the payment of car tax (vignette);
- VAT at 4%;
- the IRPEF deduction of 19%;
- exemption from registration tax at the PRA (except for the blind and deaf → Definitions).
For special license holders who have undergone a license renewal examination, the DMV offices are authorized to issue a provisional driving permit, valid until the conclusion of the procedures. In addition, for those who need to adapt their car for driving or transportation, there is an ASP grant of 20% for car adaptation.
The following categories of disabled persons or the family member who has them as dependents (i.e., the gross annual income of the disabled person must not exceed €2,840.51) are eligible:
- the blind and civilly deaf (formerly "deaf-mute");
- disabled people with mental or psychic disabilities who are entitled to an accompanying allowance;
- the disabled with severe limitation of walking ability or suffering from multiple imputations;
- disabled persons with reduced or impaired mobility.
Facilities for circulation and parking vehicles with disabled people on board
In accordance with art. 5 of Presidential Decree 384/78 and Presidential Decree 503/96, vehicles carrying disabled persons may stop and circulate in restricted traffic areas, in preferential lanes open to public transport and cabs, and may stop in areas where there is a ban as long as they do not hinder traffic. The vehicle must have the appropriate marker displayed. Issued by the Municipality of residence.
- The mark is valid throughout the national territory (D.M. dei LL. PP.- n° 1176/79 art.2);
- is strictly personal, not tied to a specific vehicle, and is valid for five years.
- Presidential Decree 384/78 provides for special parking areas to facilitate the mobility of the disabled. Law 104/92 art. 28 requires municipalities to provide parking for the disabled, both in those managed directly or given in concession, and in those made and managed by private individuals;
- In particular cases, (residential streets or parking lots at offices or workplaces), the disabled may request that the sign, prepared by the municipality, is reported in the license plate number of the vehicle used by the disabled person, in order to allow the exclusive use of that particular parking space, (c.m. of LL.PP n° 1270/79);
- Vehicles displaying the sticker can stop in many areas that are otherwise prohibited. You can never stop, even if you have a badge in correspondence of: - reserved lanes; - pre-selection zones; - zebra-patterned crosswalks; - bus stop areas; - pedestrian islands.
- Vehicles with a badge can also circulate in areas closed to normal traffic (e.g. historic centers).
The only limitation is the prohibition to use the preferential lanes set aside for public means of transport only (in particular means on rails). Circular 1030 of June 13, 1983 of the Ministry of Public Works, reiterates that if the preferential lane is reserved for other categories (cabs, refuse collection, security, etc.), it can also be used by vehicles with the markings for the disabled.
Where to request the mark
The marker must be requested at the municipality of residence, (usually at the command of traffic police).
Who can use it
All disabled people with serious and persistent motor difficulties and all those who, due to the seriousness of the disability, cannot independently access public transport, (please refer to the provisions of the various municipalities).
2.2 Urban transport
In addition to the provisions of Presidential Decree 384/78, (accessibility to buses, subway seat reservation, etc.), other measures have been taken to facilitate the mobility of the disabled by public transport. It should be remembered that Law 104/92 art. 26 requires regions and municipalities to ensure the mobility of disabled persons and to compensate with adequate means for the lack or absence of public transport where it is lacking.
Several municipalities have reduced rates for people with disabilities, as well as free or reduced-rate cab service.
Finally, it should be noted that the Ministry of Transport has the authority to approve prototypes of urban, suburban and cab buses that are accessible to the disabled (art. 26 paragraph 5 of Law 104/92).
2.3 Travelling by train
The Italian State Railways has planned and implemented various initiatives to make it easier for the disabled to use trains. There are reception centers in 110 stations. These centers represent a point of reference for the travel needs of the disabled.
What can you get from the drop-in center?
- Accompaniment and help from the station entrance to the train;
- Help and accompaniment for the descent from the train to the exit of the station or accompaniment and accommodation on any connecting train;
- If required, ticket purchase and seat reservation;
- Free wheelchair availability for travel within the station;
- The signalling of the request for refreshment service at the seat on trains equipped with restaurant carriages;
- Information on rail services.
How to get assistance?
In order to use the services, it is necessary to call or go to the reception centers at least 24 hours before the departure of the chosen train.
In addition, it is advisable to arrive at the station 45 minutes in advance in order to get the maximum assistance.
Inside the station
In many stations the platforms and ticket offices have been fitted with slides to allow access to disabled people in wheelchairs. In stations where barriers have not yet been removed, assistance staff are available to help with any difficulties or obstacles.
Transportation of the disabled person's wheelchair is free of charge. In this regard it should be kept in mind that:
- those who travel with a rigid wheelchair must use the carriages provided and marked with the symbol for the disabled, in the absence of this possibility, work out the most appropriate solution with the reception center;
- the transport of disabled persons with powered wheelchairs is only permitted on trains equipped with a luggage compartment.
On the train
If the reception center has been activated, the disabled person is brought into the carriage with a special lift. In the composition of the main trains, there is a second class carriage designed to accommodate two disabled persons with wheelchairs or who need to travel in a lying position and two accompanying persons. It will be the responsibility of the departure station to inform the arrival station in order to activate the necessary assistance. In addition, on trains equipped with refreshment service, disabled passengers may request a drink directly at the seat occupied, without any increase in the list price. To use these seats and make a reservation, Ferrovie dello Stato recommends contacting the reception centers.
Blue card how to get it
The blue card must be requested at the ticket offices of the stations or reception centers, upon presentation of the certification attesting to the need for accompaniment issued by the medical commission for the recognition of civil disability of the Provincial Health Authority.
What does it entitle you to
With this card you can buy a train ticket and any supplement, valid for two people, (so free travel for the accompanying person).
- Children with disabilities between the ages of 4 and 12 are eligible for a reduced 50% ticket.
- Blind people. People with a visual capacity of less than one tenth, in both eyes, (recognized by the appropriate commission of the ASP) can take advantage of a special concession (concession 3) valid for 5 years and for the travel of the only companion. The concession is prepared by the Italian Union of the Blind, the Italian Association of the Blind of War.
2.4 Travelling by air
Transportation of disabled persons by air is governed by European Regulation (EC, 1107/2006).
The Regulations provide for compulsory assistance free of charge for all passengers with reduced mobility and apply to all flights (scheduled, charter and low-cost):
- departing from or in transit through an EU airport (including Norway, Iceland and Switzerland);
- departing from a non-Community airport to a Community airport (including Norway, Iceland and Switzerland) , only in the event that the airline operating the flight is Community (or Norwegian, Icelandic or Swiss).
Also, it is important to know that the assistance of users of this means of transport, is regulated by specific provisions of the airlines.
In some airports in Italy, such as Rome Fiumicino, Turin and Milan Malpensa, information and assistance services are available. These are the Friendly Lounges, where the following are available: televisions, nursery, games for children, telephones for the deaf, barrier-free toilets, newspapers and magazines, including Braille, and special seats. In all other Italian airports, the reference point for the disabled is the check-in of the departure airport.
Wheelchair at the airport and in flight
In several aircraft, aisle-side seats with fold-down armrests are available, allowing disabled customers to sit and move around more easily. The company provides an on-board wheelchair for easy movement within the cabin. Disabled passengers with their own wheelchair can check it in as checked baggage free of charge. On request, if there is space, the wheelchair can also be transported in the cabin.
Oxygen therapy and stretcher on board
This service, provided only on some aircrafts, must be booked at least 48 hours before departure and requires the payment of a supplement. In some cases, the presence of an accompanying person who provides for the personal needs of the assisted person during all phases of the trip is mandatory.
Guide dogs for blind passengers may travel in the hold with a special kennel or, subject to space availability, in the cabin provided they are muzzled and leashed. The transport of guide dogs is free of charge and is not subject to weight limits of the animal. Passengers must request the availability of space for their dog at the time of booking the flight and must also provide the necessary equipment for the animal's journey (muzzle, kennel, etc.).
Lunch on board
In some cases, if travelers have specific dietary needs, they can book special meals, available on all flights
international flights that last at least 3 hours. In this case you must report these needs at the time of booking or within 24 hours of departure.
All customers who require special assistance must complete and submit the Medical Information Form (Medif), which is the medical clearance, at check-in no earlier than 7 days before departure.
Legislative Decree no. 24 of February 24, 2009 outlines the obligations for airport operators and airlines. In addition to the prohibition to deny boarding or booking a flight on the grounds of disability or reduced mobility, here is a summary of the most important provisions:
- Information for passengers with disabilities must be in an accessible format, whether it relates to safety regulations or any restrictions on transport;
- after departure, you must inform the operators of the destination airport of the presence of a person with a disability on board and the assistance needed upon arrival;
- information in terminals must be clear for disabled people and each aircraft must have suitable staff to provide assistance; in addition, all airports with an annual passenger throughput in excess of 150,000 must select and publish quality standards for assistance.
2.5 Travelling by ship
Passengers with reduced mobility are entitled to receive free assistance during embarkation and disembarkation, when changing boat, on board or in the port area. In order to obtain the best possible service, it is necessary to contact the carrier, the ticket office and/or the tour operator at least 48 hours before the journey and specify the type of assistance requested. Even if you have not done so, the carrier and terminal operator are required to make every effort to assist the passenger during boarding and disembarkation and during the trip. For special needs in terms of accommodation, seat assignment or assistance, or if you need to bring medical equipment, you must notify the ticket office at the time of booking. Carriers may ask the passenger to be accompanied by another person, if this is necessary for safety reasons due to the conformation of the vessel and/or port facilities: in this case the accompanying person travels free of charge. In the event that the traveler finds it difficult to exercise his rights or faces problems in obtaining assistance during the trip, the port authorities or the carrier with which he is traveling must be informed.
2.6 Travelling by coach
A person with a disability has the right to travel by coach. In fact, they cannot be prevented from buying a ticket, making reservations or boarding a bus because of reduced mobility, except in cases where it is absolutely necessary to comply with health and safety regulations or where the infrastructure is not such as to guarantee safe transportation.
For long-distance travel (more than 250 km):
- the transportation company must allow a person of your choice to travel free of charge - if doing so will address health and safety concerns that would otherwise prevent you from traveling;
- you are eligible for assistance and to get on and off the bus.
Assistance is free, but to be sure you get it, you must contact the transportation company, ticket office or tour operator at least 36 hours before your trip and specify the help you need. The operator or terminal manager may ask you to report to a designated point one hour before your scheduled departure. If there are any problems obtaining assistance during your trip, you should notify the terminal operator or the transportation company with which you are traveling.