Concerns remain over London transport for disabled

 

Sulaiman Khan finds out what disabled access is like at Stratford Station

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It's a year to go until the Paralympic Games and the spotlight has turned on accessibility on London's transport system.

Today, the Green Park lifts were opened to much fanfare and with a cost of £48m.

Certainly, many people think London has made big improvements, particularly on the buses. Although, I do hear claims of drivers failing to stop and a lack of space for wheelchairs and buggies.

But, when it comes to the Tube there are some particular concerns.

A year ago I travelled with Sulaiman Khan, an advertising student who also uses a wheelchair.

It was impossible for him to get on at Woodford without being barged on by his carers.

At Stratford he also had problems with the lift and again had to be hauled off the train.

So, with a year to go we again tried the same route. You can watch my film about how we got on above.

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There have been some improvements but the main issue is the gap between train and platform.

Accessibility schemes have been deferred or dropped over the last decade as funding has been cut by at least £65m.

Ken Livingstone, when he was mayor, promised 90 out of 270 stations would be step-free by 2013. That soon was cut so Mayor Boris Johnson could initially only promise 68 by the end of 2010.

That was never achieved and as the cash dried up there are currently 63 step-free stations including Green Park. That will rise to 65 by next summer.

'Confusing'

However, that doesn't mean you will be able to get on every line at those 65 stations. You can only get onto every line at 12 stations.

Transport for London (TfL) has also changed its Tube maps so there are now stations designated step-free from the street-to-platform and step-free stations from street-to-train.

Charities say this situation is confusing.

How do you find getting around London if you use a wheelchair, have limited mobility or have to push children around in a buggies?

Is it accessible? Has it improved? Let me know.

 
Tom Edwards, Transport correspondent, London Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Can't really comment on the Tube, as live in SW London so wheelchair-using wife has to get a cab to the few there are and generally can't go anywhere via Tube anyway. Buses are generally accessible, although prone to problems with the ramps and some bus stops are impossible, even when directed to change at one by TFL. Cabs are usually very good, a few local overground stations are also very good.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    Went to the new London Overground link at Stratford, with brand new trains and platforms. I understand disabled travellers have to book at least 24 hours in advance for ramps - at both ends of a journey and at any interchanges - but light rail, trams and many new tube trains do have level access. Continued

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 3.

    I am unclear if the 2020 target of full access will actually be achieved, when recent" improvement" even for those for allegedly the most accessible Olympics are not up to best practice!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    They always like to quote that 24 hour notice advice, but at those mainline stations in London which are wheelchair accessible to the platform, in our experience there are ramps on both the platforms and the trains. Most platform staff are good if you can find one, and nearly all guards are excellent. On arriving at Waterloo, it depends on whether station staff or guard have rung ahead.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 5.

    Cont. I would add that our experience is limited to our own local accessible stations and London Waterloo. The local accessible stations are Norbiton, Surbiton and Raynes Park (the latter London bound only I think). Forget changing at Clapham Junction, it isn't going to happen for some years yet unless on same physical adjacent platforms. As for our nearest station, we need the space elevator.

 
 

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