Platform Gap Filler, another innovative solution for accessibility

During the reconstruction of the infrastructure of metro line M3, we are paying special attention to creating conditions for equal access. Due to the characteristics of the blue metro line, the possibilities for conventional solutions are limited, which is why BKV Zrt. is open to innovative ideas and is examining examples from abroad. This approach is one of the reasons why passengers of metro line M3 were the first to experience inclined elevators, and now we are preparing to introduce another innovation for safer, barrier-free transport. Soon, on 17 August 2022, we will start testing the Platform Gap Filler (PGF), which will reduce the crossing distance between platform and trains.

One of the most important questions in accessibility is whether the solutions envisaged will provide real assistance to people with disabilities. Practical experience has shown that – despite the best intentions – there are many conceptually inadequate or poorly implemented accessibility solutions. During the reconstruction of the metro line, we are working with stakeholders to find the best possible solutions, taking into account the specific circumstances.

The National Federation of Organisations of People with a Physical Disability (MEOSZ) has noted as a problem that the average distance between the platform edge and the trains of 5-6 centimetres is unsafe for wheelchair users, and that 2 centimetres would be an acceptable value.

This is not a unique problem: different technical solutions are used worldwide to reduce the distance at stations on metros and railways. Based on the studies carried out, the installation of a Platform Gap Filler (PGF) on metro line M3 could be a solution. The product is manufactured by several companies, making it relatively easy to obtain, and is already in use in several European cities (including Prague, a site very similar to Budapest).

What is Platform Gap Filler (PGF)?

PGF is a strong rubber platform filler which – by selecting and fitting the right size of filler – minimises the space between the platform edge and the edge of the train door. It is flexible, so it does not cause damage to the subway train itself, while at the same time resisting the stresses caused by passenger traffic, thus ensuring easier boarding. An additional advantage of PGF is that it can be retrofitted, to take into account existing conditions.

The test run of PGF using test elements

PGF is still being tested on metro line M3. Practical testing of the theoretical parameters in passenger traffic will start on 17 August. At five stations – Újpest-központ, Újpest-városkapu, Forgách utca, Corvin-negyed, Határ út – passengers will be able to meet with polystyrene foam, commonly known as Styrofoam. The pieces, about 60 centimetres long, with ends of different lengths fixed to the edge of the platform, are designed to set the final dimensions (see the attached photo).

The planned application of PGF

Once the test results have been evaluated and the final dimensions determined, the process of procurement and installation begins. It is planned to fix the PGF elements in five-metre sections at four stations, i.e. two boarding positions per platform. Platform signs will be used to indicate the reduced clearance for unobstructed boarding, in line with the accessibility of the trains. The entire installation on the line is planned to be completed within one year.

A summary video (in Hungarian) of the Platform Gap Filler elements has been produced and can be viewed by clicking on this link.

Please help and cooperate during the testing!

Video made by: Júlia Vincze