Accessibility for people with functional disabilities Travelling freely is important for everybody in the Netherlands, including people with functional disabilities. As part of this, NS worked with interest groups and the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in 2016 to make travelling by train more accessible. For example, NS introduced assistance service in 2016 at ten stations, and at five other stations the times when assistance is available for passengers were extended. NS also started providing information in the NS Journey Planner Xtra app about which side to exit the train, including a text-to-speech function. This service is important in particular for people with a visual impairment because they cannot see the platforms. NS also took steps in other areas to improve the level of comfort for passengers with functional disabilities. For example, in collaboration with the Oogvereniging (a lobby group for the visually impaired), NS developed an online booking option for the OV-chip Plus so that people who are both deaf and blind can also use this type of public transport smartcard. Trials with tactile guidance lines for people with a visual impairment and hearing loops for people with auditory impairments took place at OV-service shops. Stations where multiple carriers operate were given tactile plates at the access gates. New Sprinter trains are being introduced that have a retractable step for getting on and off the train more easily. The new Sprinter trains, Flirt, which have been in use since the 2017 timetable, have a retractable step. The Flirt’s retractable step was first tested in real life in 2016. Based on these tests it is expected that the step will do its job properly.