An event with the theme “Becoming accessible together, everywhere” was held by the Growthfund and Transport for Athens at the metro station in Monastiraki
The metro station in Monastiraki became completely accessible for Persons with Disability (PwDs) on the initiative of the Growthfund and Athens Public Transport. To facilitate the daily life of our fellow citizens, a pilot accessibility project and interventions were implemented to better serve disabled people at the station in question.
The Growthfund has chosen “Me Alla Matia” NPO as a strategic partner for accessibility, while it is under the kind support of the Association of Social Responsibility for Children and Youth (S.K.E.P.) and the Hellenic Association for Asperger’s Syndrome. In collaboration with the above organizations from the Civil Society, a survey was carried out on a targeted audience of Persons with Disability (PwDs) to identify their commuting obstacles.
Utilizing the research findings, an influential pilot project was implemented at Monastiraki station in the axis of practical inclusion in the center of Athens. At the same time, Athens Urban Rail Transport, a member of the Transport for Athens Group, will complete essential interventions in 2023 to achieve yet another accessible station.
At the event, Mr. Grigoris Dimitriadis, CEO of the Growthfund, emphasized:
“The interventions made at the station are the minimum sign of respect for people with disability and a practical recognition of their right to commute freely, like everyone else. The inclusive society embraces all people, and the Group’s actions to improve the daily life of the disabled will continue.”
Mr. Giorgos Spiliopoulos, CEO of Athens Urban Transport Organisation (OASA), highlighted:
“OASA is true to its values and aware of the role it is called to play in Greek society, plans actions and implements practices that ensure the fundamental right of access of people with disability in urban transport. The continuous improvement of accessibility to means of public transport for all passengers without exception, without exclusion, is a top priority for all of us”.
Mr. Thanasis Kottaras, CEO of Athens Urban Rail Transport (STASY), said:
“As Athens Urban Rail Transport, we stand by all our passengers, trying every day to strengthen our relationship. Planning and undertaking actions and interventions aimed at upgrading our infrastructure and, by extension, improving the passenger experience of PwDs, is imperative. Our effort will be permanent and consistent, contributing to the overall project of facilitating the daily life of the disabled”.
Mr. Vaggelis Avgoulas, Lawyer, member of the Board of Directors of the Athens Bar Association, President of “Me Alla Matia” NPO, and strategic partner of the Growthfund for Accessibility, commented on the fact: “For months, for every step, the Growthfund and Athens Public Transport have been trusting us as a social enterprise of disabled people and professionals in the field. This basically reifies the life and existence motto of the international disability movement “Nothing about us, without us”. People with and without disability co-shape, co-create, co-decide.”
Panagiotis Pitsiniagas, Motivational Speaker, Accessibility and Inclusion Advisor from “Me Alla Matia” NPO, addressing the attendees, noted: “The right means of public transport improve the quality of life for all of us, regardless of whether we use them or not. To make them more mass, measures were taken, and others will be taken in the future so that anyone can use them, regardless of how they move, feel the environment, or how old they are”.
The journalist Apostolos Maggiriadis presented the event.
Based on the mapping of needs through a survey of disabled users of public transport in Athens and inspections at stations, the Growthfund proceeded with the following measures for PwDs in the framework of the “Becoming accessible together, everywhere” initiative:
- Experiential training programs & Information: a) Experiential training for bus drivers and station masters who interact with citizens in Athens Public Transport, b) Training for the Marketing and Communication staff of the 17 subsidiaries of the Growthfund for accessible communication tools. The location of all metro elevators was marked (and confirmed) via Google Maps to facilitate PwDs access to stations.
- Action Plan: 20 soft interventions/infrastructure improvements for the optimum operation of the transportation, and a mechanism for reporting progress by passengers with disability via Google Docs and actions verification.
- Infrastructure: 2 pilot stations were chosen (Kallithea and Monastiraki) for a thorough assessment of accessibility by users with mobility and visual impairments. End-user focus groups recorded detailed suggestions for improvement for the same two stations. 409 ledges were placed at bus stops to facilitate PwDs, a project which was implemented through funding from the subsidized program “TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENT, AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT” NSRF 2014-2020, Cohesion Fund.
- Measurement of Results and governance: Creation of an Accessibility Index as a KPI of the effectiveness of these actions. The unit of measurement is the increase in the use of Public Transport by PwDs, and this is how the effectiveness of these actions on the target public is assessed.
- Operation of a Help Desk by disabled users to support the subsidiaries of the Growthfund in matters of accessibility of communication materials
The innovation of the program’s philosophy: the pilot program is based on the approach of the central participation of users with disability in the evaluation and design of the products and services of the subsidiaries of the Growthfund. For the effectiveness of the project, a team (task force) has been set up of executives from the Growthfund, the Transport for Athens Group (OASA-STASY-Road Transport), and passengers with disability.
A few words about Growthfund
Growthfund is a holding company founded in 2016, with the sole shareholder being the Greek State, as represented by the Minister of Finance. Its mission, as the National Fund of Greece, is: to take an active role in the modernization of Public Enterprises, to maximize the value of public property, to ensure upgraded services for citizens/consumers, and to contribute to the national economy. The Growthfund´s portfolio includes its subsidiaries and holdings in public enterprises, which are active in key sectors of the Greek economy. Those are among others:
- Real Estate: Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), Hellenic Public Properties Co (HPPC), GAIAOSE S.A., ETVA Industrial and Business Parks, HELEXPO
- Energy and Utility Services: PPC (DEI), EYDAP, EYATH
- Transportation and Infrastructure: Airport El. Venizelos, OASA, AEDIK (Corinth Canal), 23 Regional Airports,
- Food Supply: CMTH S.A., CMFO S.A., Hellinic Saltworks S.A.,
- Technology: 5G- FAISTOS
- Postal Services: Hellenic Post (ELTA).
The value of the portfolio managed by the Growthfund currently amounts to €7 billion, and the total number of employees in its companies amounts to 31.000.
The Growthfund, in collaboration with Transport for Athens, “Me Alla Matia” NPO, the kind support of the Association of Social Responsibility for Children and Youth (S.K.E.P.), and the Hellenic Association for Asperger’s Syndrome, plans and implements an initiative with a vision of holistic inclusion and accessibility in Athens Public Transport and the ultimate goal of creating good practices and expanding to the rest of the Growthfund´s subsidiaries.
For more information, please contact: Thalia Dimou, T: +30 6942 558903, email@example.com