Borivali has become the first blind-friendly railway station in Mumbai, with Cox & Kings Foundation, in association with Anuprayaas and Western Railways, unveiling a string of facilities including Braille-embossed railings on foot overbridges and in the subways, Braille-embossed entry and exit points, and comprehensive Braille booklets.

A need analysis was first carried out through a survey in Mumbai to understand and identify the issues faced by the visually impaired passengers. It emerged that time taken to identify the platform was one of the problems that often led them to miss trains. Delay in identification also forced them to board moving trains, making them vulnerable to mishaps. Another factor that often resulted in confusion was the map and locations of various amenities at the station.

With these issues in mind, the indicators as well as the booklet have been designed. The booklet, which will be placed at all ticket counters, also has emergency numbers.

India has the highest blind population in the world with about 1 per cent of the total population facing vision-related disability. Serving a considerable portion of this population residing in Mumbai, the Western Railways is working to make the Mumbai Rail Network more accessible. Borivali station was strategically chosen since it is used by outstation passengers as well as local commuters.

CB’s questions on steps taken to inform blind people about these facilities and how such indicators will work during rush hours went unanswered.

In a press release shared by the foundation, Karan Anand, head, relationships, Cox & Kings, said, ‘In order to make travel barrier-free and address the accessibility concerns of people with disabilities, it is integral for the government, businesses and the people to work hand in hand. An inclusive society can only be created by enabling a physical environment that can be accessed seamlessly and equally by all. This project is a step towards creating a travel environment that is easy, dignified and seamless.’

Cox & Kings Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the world’s oldest travel company, Cox & Kings, and Anuprayaas is the organisation behind India’s first blind-friendly station in Mysore.