20 minutes off a trip to Birmingham or a more step-free London Underground?
TFL (Transport For London) have announced that they’re introducing more step-free access but The London Underground is still mainly a ‘no no’ for wheelchair users.
Out of the 70 step-free stations, only around half are step-free from the platform on to the train. The step-free access may be from a raised platform section, level with the floor of the train, or via a manual boarding ramp.
TFL’s official position is as follows:-
*All our bus routes are served by low-floor vehicles, with a dedicated space for one wheelchair user and an access ramp. Buses can also be lowered to reduce the step-up from the pavement.
*Around a quarter of Tube stations, half of Overground stations, most piers, all tram stops, the Emirates Air Line and all DLR stations have step-free access.
*All taxis (black cabs) have a wheelchair ramp and some private hire vehicles (minicabs) have step free access.
Now question HS2. It’s scheduled to cost £52 billion .. but who believes that the budget won’t over-run? They always do! And who thinks that the cost is worth it because it ‘knocks-off’ a few minutes on a trip to Birmingham. Just think how a small percentage of the £52 billion could be spent on the London Underground transforming the travelling lives of disabled passengers.
Sadiq Khan – London Mayor
Sadiq Khan has announced an investment of £200 million in the tube network to improve accessibility, including step-free access. It was also announced earlier this year that a number of London Underground train fleets are to undergo modifications to improve accessibility for disabled people.
The improvements will include designated wheelchair zones and improved lighting for people with visual impairments among other modifications
But just think what a slice of that £52 billion could do for the London Underground and for disabled passengers who need to move around the Capital