Clarify mobility scooter requirements for train (JR)

Welcome to the Accessible Japan community forums!

If you have a question about accessible travel in Japan, just pop it in one of the forums below and we'll find you an answer! If you don't know where your question should go, or have a suggestion for a new forum, plase put it in the General Discussion forum.


This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by Avatar virl7887 6 days, 13 hours ago.

  • Author
  • #5683
    Avatar
    xavier
    Participant

    From JR website it states for mobility scooters:

    • Wheelchairs with the following approximate dimensions: height and length of 120 cm, width of 70 cm.
    • In case of using a car with a deck, they’ll need to use the multipurpose room, so we should verify that the wheelchair is 180 degree turn and straight angle capable.
    • It should be able to turn a straight angle in no more than 5 direction changes on a 90 cm wide path. Also, it should be able to do a straight turn on a 100 cm path with no direction changes.
    • It should be able to do a 180 degree turn on a path of less than 180 cm width.

    Translating to my English-speaking brain, does that mean turning radius should be 100 cm?  So no “K” or 3-point turn within that distance – just in one forward motion?

    1 user thanked author for this post.
  • #5686
    Avatar
    Accessible Japan
    Keymaster

    Hi there,

    I found these visualizations in a (slightly older) newspaper, but they should highlight the turns being discussed.

    General size of the scooter:

    scooter-size


    Turning in a 90cm and 100cm wide corridor:

    scooter-turn-1

    (a few point turn ok for 90cm, direct turn for 100cm)


    U-turn in a 180cm wide corridor:

    scooter-turn-2


    Hope this helps!

  • #5691
    Avatar
    xavier
    Participant

    So is that to say if you are going down a 100 cm wide hallway and come to a right turn and that hallway is also 100 cm wide, you must be able to make the turn without touching the wall.


    And for the U turn, essentially in a 180 cm hallway do a 180 degree turn without hitting the wall.  Does that 180 degree turn have to be in one continuous forward motion or could you do the 3 point turn?

    1 user thanked author for this post.
  • #5692
    Avatar
    Accessible Japan
    Keymaster

    So is that to say if you are going down a 100 cm wide hallway and come to a right turn and that hallway is also 100 cm wide, you must be able to make the turn without touching the wall.

    Yes, that is how I read it.

    And for the U turn, essentially in a 180 cm hallway do a 180 degree turn without hitting the wall. Does that 180 degree turn have to be in one continuous forward motion or could you do the 3 point turn?

    I think they expect it to be done in one turn, not a 3 point turn.

  • #5695
    Avatar
    xavier
    Participant

    Investigating more, it appears the turning requirements only apply if using the multi purpose room on the shinkansen or other limited express trains.


    https://global.jr-central.co.jp/en/info/_pdf/mobility_scooters.pdf


    I can not find any scooters that meet these turning requirements for the size needed.  


    Just estimation – what do you think would happen if my dad came in one that does not meet these requirements (turning radius of 100 cm) but it is close – say 120-130 cm?  Say if he wants to go on the Yamanote line from Tokyo to Shinjuku and has his ticket/Suica – can he just insert into the accessible ticket gate and go on his way?


    Interesting, Pride’s local dealer has one available for sale:

    https://www.acpj.co.jp/products/detail.php?product_id=10


    Says turning radius is 97 cm which barely would make the 100 cm turn but by definition, could not do the 180 cm U turn as the U turn would be turning radius x 2 or 194 cm.


    I may just have to get him a power chair and go that way.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
  • #5696
    Avatar
    Accessible Japan
    Keymaster

    Actually it is because there are scooters here that they made rules to not allow them.  Part of the reason was that the original scooters were more like small gold carts and the train lines blanketly banned them.  It has only been recently that they have loosened the laws.  I was talking to a distributor and the scooter he was selling was not allowed on trains but mostly for seniors to drive to and from the local store and was waterproof so you can park it outside.

    You are, right – the biggest challenge is the shinkansen.  Your father will have less of a hassle with local lines.  Actually, if you look at the following website, they give information on whether a given station allows scooters (“handle type electric wheelchair”) or not:

    https://www.ecomo-rakuraku.jp/en

    Also, it really depends on the staff.  Some will smile you through, others may chase your father down. And most of the ticket gates that are wide enough for a wheelchair or scooter are right in front of the staff booth, so a foreigner going through the ticket gate in a scooter will not likely go unnoticed!

  • #5700
    Avatar
    virl7887
    Participant

    As i mentioned in a related forum here (Mobility Scooters as an Alternative Device), i inquired directly from JR Lines West and they so kindly replied a number of times to my query regarding the usability and acceptability of the scooters i used ( i provided them the details, specs and pictures), and they confirmed to me as  quoted below in their reply-
    JR Lines West- It is possible for you to use either of your mobility scooters on the JR trains since both of your mobility scooters are within our regulation sizes. However, we already informed you before, please note that there is a possibility that your mobility scooters cannot be used on some JR Ltd. Express train and JR Local train, and in some JR stations due to the facilities.
    As the regulation for mobility scooters are the same for all JR companies, it also applies to the Shinkansen. All Shinkansen trains are operated by JR.
    Based on your previous response “190802-000493”, we understand that your mobility scooters apply to our regulations for usage of Shinkansen. It is possible for you to use a private compartment “Multi-Purpose Room” on Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen (from Tokyo to Hakata).
    End of quote
    It is great that both my compact, folding mobility scooters can be used when i visit Japan.

    1 user thanked author for this post.
  • #5702
    Avatar
    virl7887
    Participant

    I concur with Josh’s earlier statements that “there are scooters here that they made rules to not allow them. Part of the reason was that the original scooters were more like small gold carts and the train lines blanketedly banned them. ” Thus, mobility scooters as a general rule or perception are not allowed.
    The mobility scooters of  “old” are as mentioned above are like golf carts or are very much already like motorcycles, bulky, big compared to the general configuration of traditional/regular wheelchairs which are the basis for the current rules/requirements.
    There are a lot of new breeds or variants of the mobility scooter, which configuration already matches or conforms to the restrictions set forth for wheelchairs, in terms of LxWxH, turning radius, speed, etc.
    Gladly, mine are already compliant, as confirmed by JR upon my sending to them of details, specs and photos.
    Given the above, i think the problem lies in the general perception (and unpopularity) of  what the scooters were (as opposed to the new specs of the many new mobility scooters) and the mindset attached to the “old” forms of these devices.
    The rules in place were crafted many years ago, revisions, changes need to be put in place.  Japan is a country of laws, rules and adherence to these is a respected and admired trait. So information, awareness to these developments is much needed to pave for the desired changes.

    1 user thanked author for this post.

You must be logged in to reply.