London

London Underground trips 'take four times longer for disabled'

Underground Image copyright Muscular Dystrophy UK
Image caption Sulaiman Khan took part in the nine-month investigation of access on London Underground

London Underground journeys take on average more than four times longer for disabled people, a report has found.

Certain journeys take far longer, such as the two-minutes from Baker Street to Bond Street taking a wheelchair user 33 minutes, Muscular Dystrophy UK says.

In addition, out of 67 stations in Zone One only seven are fully accessible, the charity's research indicates.

Transport for London said it was investing millions of pounds to improve disabled access.

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Sulaiman Khan, 30, from London, took part in the charity's nine-month investigation and says there are "no-go zones" in London he cannot reach in his wheelchair.

Mr Khan, who has congenital muscular dystrophy, said disabled people are forced to make lengthy detours just to reach a destination.

He said: "I've constantly struggled to get to work opportunities and miss out on socialising."

The investigation was carried out by Muscular Dystrophy UK Trailblazers - a network of 700 young disabled people across the UK.

One researcher, Conrad Tokarczyk, said: "There is no step-free station on the Central Line from Ruislip until you get to Stratford. It has forced me to turn down jobs and generally made life more difficult than it should be."

The report investigated public transport access across the UK, including buses, trains and taxis.

Report findings:

  • Just seven fully accessible underground stations in zone one, out of a total of 67
  • Only 25% of stations provide step-free access across the whole Tube network
  • Common routes on the London Underground take more than four times as long for disabled people

Transport for London (TfL) said since 2008, step-free access has been introduced at a further 47 underground and overground stations, bringing the total to 117.

Forty more stations will become step-free in the next 10 years, TfL confirmed.

Gareth Powell, London Underground's director of strategy, said: "More than half of our underground and rail stations will be step-free by 2018 and the Elizabeth line, which includes 40 step-free stations, will open through central London at the same time - transforming access for disabled Londoners.

"In the meantime, we offer every assistance possible."

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