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For mobility-impaired passengers

Dear Passengers,
Our aim is to lift as many restrictions as possible and offer you barrier-free travel on our services. We try to find solutions at those points where you may encounter difficulties. Ever since the late 1980s our HVV service area has seen the implementation of numerous measures designed to facilitate travel on bus and rail services by mobility-impaired passengers.

Barrier-free travel

In the following sections we have compiled important information for you on barrier-free transport in the HVV network. These details will help you to reach your destination safely and without difficulty on our services.

Bus Network

Busnetz

Low-floor buses
All bus services in Central Hamburg are provided by low-floor vehicles. To ease boarding and exiting by mobility-impaired passengers such buses can be lowered and tilted on one side towards the kerb.

Low-floor vehicles with ramps also operate on almost all bus services in the region bordering Central Hamburg (Großbereich, the Greater Hamburg Area). Each of these buses has storage space for prams and wheelchairs. 

Boarding and exiting via the ramp
The best place to wait for your bus is close to the bus-stop signpost. When wishing to board please alert the driver by hand signal or by pressing the designated button. You will find this button on the right side of the central doorway; inside the bus it is located in the back wall-panel of the storage space for prams and wheelchairs. Your driver will ensure that you board or leave the bus safely via the ramp as soon as all other passengers have done so. Ramps have a load capacity of at least 250 kg.

The right position on board the bus
As a rule the special storage space is located directly in front of you when you board via the central doorway. Here you will find a padded backrest against which you can back up your wheelchair against the direction of travel. Always ensure that your wheelchair is positioned safely so as to prevent risk to yourself or other passengers.

As many wheelchairs or prams as possible may be transported on board our bus services. This depends on the space available in each case; your driver has the final say and will instruct you accordingly.  

In the region around Central Hamburg
The following PDF contains a chart with details on low-floor bus operations in northern Lower Saxony and southern Schleswig-Holstein. Here you will also find the name of the operator to contact when checking if low-floor buses serve the route you have selected.

Rail Network

This section provides general information on barrier-free travel around the regional- and rapid-transit rail network.

In addition, our German-language web pages contain more specific details on conditions at the various regional- or rapid-transit rail stations and at selected points of interest. You will also find schematic diagrams, plans, maps and photos in these pages; they will help you to locate station entrances or exits, toilet facilities, stairways, escalators and lifts. You will also obtain an overview of platform conditions when boarding a train. Stations at which you can interchange between rail and bus services are described in detail, as are barrier-free facilities and contact points at selected points of interest. To find out more simply click the following German-language link Haltestellen und besondere Orte and select the station or point of interest for which you require information.

Stairway-free access to the platform
All barrier-free stations are equipped with ramps or lifts. Our German-language plan “Einstiegshilfen“ provides an overview of barrier-free access at stations and stops in the HVV network.

Lift layout

  • FahrstuhlLift cabins or doors (at least 90 cm in width) are generally large enough to enable unhindered access by wheelchair.
  • Control buttons inside the lift are arranged in such a way that almost all wheelchair users can reach them without difficulty. Braille instructions are provided in some lifts.
  • Whenever possible our lifts allow you to roll your wheelchair in   and out without the need to change direction.  
  • In certain cases voice messages announce each level at which   the lift will stop.
  • If you require assistance please make use of the emergency intercom installed in each cabin.

Service condition of lifts
Information on the service condition of lifts is provided in our German-language web page Haltestellen und besondere Orte. Select a station for details on the service status of its lifts. An overview of link options is provided in the upper section of this web page. Click “Aufzugsinformationen“ for details in German on lifts. This information is gradually being expanded. Should you not find the details you require on our website please phone the HVV Infoline on 040/19 449.

Barrier-free boarding
Various measures have been implemented for the safety and convenience of wheelchair users when boarding rapid-transit- or regional rail services. You can find details in the following sections. Due to factors such as wheel- or track abrasion and suspension fluctuation the vertical step between platform and railcar doorway may be approximately 2–3 cm lower than the maximum value indicated in the text.

U-Bahn (Metro/Underground Rail)
Platforms at barrier-free U-Bahn stations have either been completely raised or partly raised with humps. Varying step levels and gaps affect access into the train. In the case of older rail vehicles, the vertical step between platform and doorway amounts to a maximum 8 cm; more-recent models reduce this to 5 cm. Gaps between platform and train partly result from the structural design of a station or the type and condition of rail vehicle. On U-Bahn Lines U1 and U2 – these are mainly served by more-recently commissioned railcars – gaps generally amount to approximately 7–11 cm in width. To a certain extent older rolling stock is still in service on Line U3; gaps here are therefore in the region of approximately 10–14 cm. Boarding areas are clearly indicated by bright-colour highlighting in conjunction with wheelchair- and pram pictogram symbols.

In all cases please board within the designated area to ensure that you will also exit onto a raised platform section at your destination!

S-Bahn (Local and regional Rapid-transit Rail)

When you board more-recently commissioned S-Bahn railcars the vertical step between platform and doorway amounts to a maximum height of 6 cm; in the case of older vehicles this rises to a maximum 16 cm. The only exceptions are on Line S3 at stations between Fischbek and Agathenburg where you will face a vertical step of up to 26 cm. Platforms on this line section cannot be raised as freight trains with protruding loads pass through the stations in question.

All S-Bahn railcars have large, multi-purpose compartments. Wheelchair users can board or leave the train via ramps. Please note that the use of ramps is only permitted at the first doorway behind the front driver`s cockpit. We regret that barrier-free access onto or from trains on Line S3 is not possible at the stations Neukloster, Dollern and Agathenburg.

Please alert the driver by hand signal when the train is approaching. He will then put out the ramp for you directly behind his cockpit. In a straight line roll your wheelchair into the railcar. At this point please tell the driver at which station you intend to leave the train.

Barrier-free S-Bahn rail services also operate to and from Hamburg Airport. Trains on the S1 line are split into two sections at Ohlsdorf Station; the first three railcars proceed to Hamburg Airport, the last three to Poppenbüttel.

Wheelchair users travelling on the S1 line should move to the opposite end of the train at Altona Station as the direction of travel changes there. The same applies at Blankenese Station for wheelchair users on the S11 line.

Orientation aids for blind or visually-impaired passengers
Guidance systems for the visually impaired have been installed at certain stations; tactile paving-strips with brightly-coloured bordering alert visually-impaired passengers and enable them to proceed in the correct direction with the aid of their white stick. Tactile paving is fitted into platform surfaces and in some station concourses.

Detailed text information on such stations is provided in our German-language web page Haltestellen und besondere Orte; please click the link “Skizzenbeschreibungen“.

Most platform edges at U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations are marked with a wide warning strip. Platforms at many regional rail stations display a white safety strip which clearly indicates the danger zone.

Both these markings are for your safety; do not cross beyond them unless your train is already standing at the platform.

Acoustic signals also help you to find your way around; instantly-recognizable tones to alert you that train doors are about to close, for example, and announcements by station staff or on board the train, the latter informing you of the next station at which it will halt. On S-Bahn and regional R-Bahn rail services the side of the train from which to exit is also announced.

Doorways on U-Bahn or S-Bahn rail services are easy to find; the high-contrast design, brightly-coloured direction arrows and clearly-distinguishable rubber-lip edging all help you to locate the doorway.  

Orientation aids for passengers with impaired hearing
When on the platform please observe all text instructions presented on the overhead destination display. More recent electronic display units also provide information on actual departure times, timetable changes and service disruption. On-board Infoscreen television is installed in U-Bahn railcars; please check the screen for details on any timetable changes or service disruption and the next station at which the train will halt. Electronic display in all more-recent S-Bahn railcars inform you in advance of each station at which the train will halt.

Personal safety and security

  • In case of emergency you will find a help-point intercom on all U-Bahn and S-Bahn platforms at which you can request assistance. Any general information you may require is also provided here!
  • Spoken communication with the driver via intercom is possible on all trains.
  • On board regional rail services the train conductor or driver will gladly provide advice or assistance whenever you face a problem or emergency.

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Ferries in the HVV Network

FähreFerry services operate around the Port of Hamburg and along the   River Elbe. Many of these ferries enable access by wheelchair users. More- recently commissioned vessels also include disability-friendly toilet facilities. Almost all services on Line 62 (between Sandtorhöft   and Finkenwerder) are provided by modern, barrier-free vessels. We regret that it is not possible to transport wheelchairs on the service between Cranz and Blankenese as the piers at Cranz and Neuenfelde can only be accessed via stairs.

Information on barrier-free HADAG ferry services:
HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst AG
Telephone 040/31 17 07-0
Mon – Fri 1000 –1900 hours
Sat + Sun 1000 – 2000 hours

Please personally ensure that your wheelchair is safely positioned on board the ferry! If in doubt consult the crew for advice on the best position.

Ferries halt at floating pontoon-piers which are connected to the riverbank by bridge. The inclination of such bridges depends on tidal water levels and varies accordingly.

You pass over the gap and vertical step between pontoon-pier and ferry via a ramp (120 or 180 cm in width). When wishing to exit please press the stop button located next to the inside doorway or use the intercom.