Light rail network opens in Rio for people with impairments03.06.2016
New tram system to begin operations in June; special shuttle and taxi services to run during Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
"I hope that the work carried out here serves as an example for other cities to follow,"
A new light rail system will begin operating in central Rio de Janeiro, dramatically reducing journey times and making it easier for people with a physical impairment to get around the city.
The first parts of the tram network, known locally as the VLT after the Portuguese initials for light rail transit, are set to enter service this Sunday (5 June).
"It is an option for urban mobility with 100 per cent accessibility," Rio's transport secretary Rafael Picciani said at a press conference to mark 100 days until the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on Monday (30 May).
The city has invested in ramps at the stations and has installed tactile paving, guiding blocks and spaces for wheelchair users in the trams.
Picciani said that during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games there will be a free shuttle service that will take people with an impairment between venues and public transport stations. The city has also expanded its fleet of special taxis for people with limited mobility; the number of vehicles has risen from 30 in September last year to 92 now, with a target of 100 by the time of the Games.
Jefinho, a football 5-a-side star who has twice won Paralympic gold, said at the press conference on Monday that "Rio has been improving in terms of accessibility and I believe the Paralympic Games will represent a turning point.
"I hope that the work carried out here serves as an example for other cities to follow," he added.
Sport fans from around the world can now buy their Paralympic tickets for Rio 2016 from authorised ticket resellers (ATRs)
Residents of Brazil can buy 2016 Paralympics tickets directly from the Rio 2016 website.