'Scandal' Of Tube Stations Disabled Access
Politician wants measures introduced as Paralympics legacy
The lack of access for disabled people at local tube stations has been described as “a scandal” by a London Assembly politician, who called on the Mayor to take action in the wake of the Paralympics.
Assembly Member Murad Qureshi said a survey found that six out of eight tube stations in the borough of Hounslow do not have step-free disabled access. There are no stations at all with step free access in Chiswick.
The survey of local underground stations showed that four of the six inaccessible stations in the borough had no accessible station on either side of them, he claimed.
And local councillor Gary Malcolm ( Lib Dem) said Turnham Green station in Chiswick should be made easier for disabled and less able people to access - it has several steps up to the platform and no lift.
"Clearly Turnham Green is very busy and well used. This clearly should be a station that takes priority when having lifts, ramps or other aids given that the benefits of this would be welcomed by more people," he said.
Of the 436 London Underground stations surveyed in the report for the London Assembly, 119 had no disabled access and only 17% had full step-free access.
Assembly Member Qureshi said; “It is a scandal that there are 6 stations in Hounslow that are inaccessible for disabled Londoners, the elderly, and parents with buggies and that they don’t have the same travel opportunities that other Londoners have.
"Inaccessible transport is one of the major barriers to disabled people getting about the borough. One in ten Londoners are excluded from large parts of the transport network because of mobility issues," he added.
A total of 436 London Underground stations were surveyed of which 119 had no disabled access and only 17% had full step-free access.
Following on the success of the Paralympics, analysis shows:
"The Mayor should be making accessibility a legacy priority. We need leadership from the Mayor and a clear statement of when these tube stations will have step free access.
“The Paralympic Games have been a huge success and inspiring - we now need to build on the momentum from the games and deliver a lasting legacy for our tube network by making it truly accessible for all.
“If the Mayor is serious about ensuring these are ‘the most accessible Games ever’ and that London 2012 makes a lasting legacy in this city then he needs a costed plan to make all of our stations accessible.”
Turnham Green station on the District Line, has no entrance/exit suitable for disabled users as it has a stairs leading to the platforms.
Several years ago, a much heralded recent revamp of Turnham Green station failed to address the issue of disabled access to the station where it is impossible for a wheelchair user to commence an unaided journey on the tube network from Chiswick.
Councillor Gary Malcolm, Southfield Ward, said; "If the Paralympics have shown us anything it is that Councils and transport providers must do everything they can to ensure that people who are disabled or have difficulties do not have to go out of their way to get to where they work, shop or live.
"That may mean staff at stations need to be more helpful as well as station managers ensuring that their are ramps that are installed. Recently a Liberal Democrat London GLA member helped ensure that London Transport is to keep the ramps at tube stations."
Improvements have been made to the transport network in recent years as part of the £6.5bn investment in transport ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, to provide what TfL called "a tangible legacy to passengers with disabilities".
London's bus fleet has 8,500 buses accessible to wheelchair users and fitted with ramps which are checked daily. In addition, all 22,000 taxis are fitted with wheelchair ramps, and all piers and most passenger boats in London are accessible. The entire Docklands Light Railway (DLR) network is step-free. A total of 66 Tube stations are step-free, said TfL.
The new fleet of trains on the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines are accessible and provide level access from platform to train according to the transport company. However this does not assist passengers trying to gain access to the street from the platform at Turnham Green.
Mike Brown, London Underground Managing Director, said: 'The London 2012 Games has benefited from the most accessible public transport system of any Olympic or Paralympic Games in history.
"However, we know there is more to do. For the Games we introduced manual boarding ramps at 16 key stations where there is a gap between the train and platform, enabling customers using wheelchairs to board trains more easily."
Manual boarding ramps are in use at Hammersmith, King's Cross St Pancras, West Ham, Westminster, Southfields, Wimbledon, Earl's Court, Fulham Broadway, Stratford, Woodford, Oxford Circus, Queen's Park, Edgware, Morden, Finchley Central and Stockwell London Underground stations.
September 11, 2012