Chiswick Stations Miss Out Again On Step-Free Access

MP says area should be next in-line for improved accessibility for the disabled

The stairs at Gunnersbury station. Picture: Network Rail


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Chiswick is likely to have no fully accessible tube station for the foreseeable future with none of the local stops on the Mayor of London’s newly announced list of those to be upgraded.

13 more stations are to benefit from step-free access with Transport for London having set a target of 40% of stations fully accessible for wheelchair users by 2022 requiring an overall investment of £200million. However, much of the increase in the proportion of accessible stations is due to the new Elizabeth line stops.

Ruth Cadbury, MP for Brentford and Isleworth while welcoming the news that Boston Manor station is to be upgraded said, “ I hope that the next allocation of upgrades to be announced as part of the TfL ‘step free’ investment will include Turnham Green and Gunnersbury. Gunnersbury station has serious overcrowding problems which I have raise to TfL, while Turnham Green is a key station in Chiswick. Once the Piccadilly Line signalling upgrades are complete trains will be stopping at these stations regularly and this improved access will be needed even more.”

Other stations that are being upgraded are Burnt Oak, Debden, Hanger Lane, Ickenham, North Ealing, Northolt, Park Royal, Rickmansworth, Ruislip, Snaresbrook, Sudbury Hill and Wimbledon Park.

Last year we reported on the case of a disabled Chiswick woman who was unable to exit a tube due to lack of assistance, leading to local councillors to pledge to campaign on the issue of transport access in the area. Wheelchair users are often obliged to alight at Hammersmith or Acton Town if they want to travel to Chiswick.

Cllr Andrew Steed, who represents Southfield ward contacted the Mayor’s Office last year about the issue and after a long delay he received a response saying, "In December 2016 TfL and City Hall announced a £200m programme that will see step free access installed in around 30 Tube stations by March 2022.

"Turnham Green and Chiswick Park are not currently being considered under TfL’s Step Free Access Programme. This is because they did not meet the criteria we use in order to assess which stations are the best fit for the programme. These criteria include cost or availability of third party funding, simple construction and strategic importance (for example it must serve a town centre, interchange with other transport providers or be in a location where there are currently limited accessible transport options).

"It is possible that Turnham Green and Chiswick Park may be considered for the programme at a later date if circumstances change – for example if funding became available from a third party such as a local land developer or the local authority."

Over £14 million was available as a ‘planning gain’ for local transport after the building of Chiswick Business Park but very little of this appears to have been spent on Gunnersbury station which is struggling to cope with the extra demand as the office development fills up. Hounslow Council spent some of the money designated for transport on implementing controlled parking zones in the area.

Sadiq Khan, said, “It’s vital that we make our transport network accessible to all Londoners and visitors. That’s why I vowed to significantly improve the services offered at our stations for those with disabilities, parents with pushchairs or anyone who struggles with their mobility. These improvements are going to make a big difference in helping Londoners move around our city and show the real progress we are making to improve accessibility right across the capital.”

As part of the Mayor’s Tube accessibility programme, a new lift contract has been introduced that can be replicated across many stations. TfL say that it delivers the same standards of reliability but at a fraction of the cost and length of time it previously took to design, manufacture and install a lift. They anticipate that this initiative will cut the cost of installing each lift cut by 70 per cent, making savings of £15m. It will also cut the delivery time by 40 per cent, allowing TfL to introduce step-free access in the quickest time possible.

January 21, 2018

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