This detailed review of the wheelchair accessibility of TER trains was from Summer 2022.
We were warned about the Nice train station by the accessibility workers in Paris. And for good reason–it was crowded, English was barely spoken, and the trains are on tight turnarounds as Nice is not typically a terminating station. Overall, the station was fine and operable…we just had to push hard for the workers to listen to and work with us. I do not think the issues were systemic, and hope that future stops in Nice will go much easier.
How Wheelchair Accessible Services Are Supposed to Work
The wheelchair accessible operations for the regional trains (such as the TER to Monaco) utilize TER Access for wheelchair assistance. This is different than Acces Plus and Acces Plus Transilien, which organizes wheelchair assistance for the longer trains. To contact TER Access, you must contact the TER service center for the region of travel. Nice is in the South TER Access region.
For Nice, assistance must be booked 48 hours in advance, and during business hours–the offices typically have limited hours on Saturdays and are closed on Sundays and holidays. The impact of this is that any reservations made between Saturday closing and Monday will only be valid for travel on Wednesday morning (or later)–this is 48 hours after the next business day. Any reservations made within the 48-hour window will be treated as “requests,” and subject to availability and the whims of the staff.
You can request assistance by calling 0 800 11 40 23. There is also an online request form. The online request form could not find our reservations and thus we could not use it, but the website looks like it has since been improved.
The services provided include helping with 1 bag, escorting you to the train, and getting a ramp if the threshold is too much to board the train.
Location of TER Access at the Station
The TER Access kiosk is in the middle of the station, next to the Deli. There is a strip on the ground that leads directly to it–meant for people with visual impairments, but helpful for all.
Accessibility of Getting to the Train
Once through the ticket turnstile, you have to locate what track the train is on. There are elevators behind the stairs that lead to the bridge that goes to the train platforms. You need to take the elevator up, walk along the bridge to the desired platform, and then take the elevator there down. You then need to walk to the correct carriage number and wait for the train to arrive.
Tip: allow extra time for the elevators. They can hold about two wheelchairs, and they service everyone going up and down from a given platform. You may need to wait for a few rounds of people to use the elevators before you can use them.
How the Accessibility Process Worked for Us
We tried calling before we left on our trip, but the time difference, wait times, and lack of English speakers made it impossible for us to request–we spent hours trying, and could not get it set up. We were able to arrange for service to help get off the train from Paris, and so we knew we could at least get off in Nice. Our arrival time was supposed to be 48-hours before our next trip–we were arriving on Saturday, and not going to Monaco until Tuesday. As such, we planned to speak with the TER Service Center in person once we arrived in Nice on Saturday. But our train from Paris was delayed, and the center was closed when we arrived. We spoke with the person who helped us off the train, but he could not help make reservations. We then had our hotel front desk worker call, but the office was closed for the weekend. On Monday morning, we went to the TER Service Center at the Nice train station, and were told we missed the window and they did not have availability to assist. But the worker stated that we did not need assistance because there was a minimal gap between the train and the platform for the train to Monaco. So, we thought it was all set.
We went to the platform, waited for the train, and there was a solid 4″ gap between the train and the platform…and the train was higher than the platform. Because there was no assistance available, we just had to ram our way onto the train–I just about jolted out of my scooter, but other passengers helped catch me and guide the scooter over the gap. Thankfully, there was no threshold in Monaco, and so the disembarking was easy. (Spoiler alert–not the case on the way back).
Read the detailed story here.