HomeBusinessAccessibility consultation on Tube is underway

Accessibility consultation on Tube is underway

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Transport for London (TfL) is asking the public for their views on future step-free access priorities and improvements on the Underground.

It is the first consultation of its kind in 15 years and will run until February.

TfL staff helping a passenger to reach his destination safely.

The hope is to collect information from the public and borough councils as to which aspects of London Underground stations should be prioritised for accessibility, should the UK Government provide the funding for future programmes.

TfL says it thinks funding will likely be limited, and wants to prioritise as effectively as possible.

So far, 51 per cent of the Transport for London rail network currently has step-free access – encompassing the Tube, DLR, London Overground, London Trams and TfL Rail services. Of the Tube network, the total stands at 33 per cent.

Transport for London is asking Londoners for their views on accessibility.

As part of the consultation, respondents will be asked whether they would prefer future funding to focus on upgrading a single, complex central London station, or be divided between smaller or medium-sized stations located outside central London. They will also be asked whether they would prefer for future funding to be used to improve clusters of accessible stations to create a close group of accessible stations or upgrade areas with limited accessibility, or a combination of both.

Once the consultation closes, TfL will publish its findings in the spring of 2022. Findings from this consultation will be analysed alongside TfL’s own passenger data, transport modelling and engineering feasibility to deliver a step-free station programme, should funding be made available.

Esther Sharples, TfL.

Director of asset performance and capital delivery Esther Sharples said: “Making independent, spontaneous travel easier for Londoners is one of TfL’s top priorities.

“By launching this important public consultation, we will hear directly from Londoners about how we could best make Tube stations more accessible through the provision of step-free access when more funding is available. This will enable us to prioritise delivering the most impactful changes to make London’s public transport more equitable and inclusive, should we receive funding from government.

“We encourage you to share this consultation with everybody who would benefit from it and look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible.”

Heidi Alexander, Deputy London Mayor.

Deputy mayor for transport Heidi Alexander said: “Making the public transport network accessible for all is a top priority and this consultation will play a vital part in TfL’s future plans for improvements to stations. We want everyone to be able to travel around the capital easily, whether they have a disability, are elderly or carrying heavy equipment, and I urge people to take part in this consultation and share their views.

“It is absolutely vital that the government provides TfL with adequate support in the forthcoming funding settlement to allow us to move forward with these hugely important plans for more accessible stations.”

Katie Pennick, Transport for All.

Transport for All campaign lead Katie Pennick said: “Step-free access is one of the biggest challenges facing the Tube network. While in recent years there have been dramatic improvements, with key stations such as Bond Street and Finsbury Park opening up to disabled passengers, there is still a long way to go.

“Currently, 89 out of the 272 Tube stations have step-free access from at least street level to platform. Many disabled Londoners live, work, or socialise in areas that aren’t served by an accessible station, meaning journey times can often be four times longer1 than those of non-disabled people.

“We really welcome TfL’s approach to ensuring the views, experiences and priorities of disabled people are factored into the strategy for future step-free improvements. We have long campaigned for disabled people to have a say in the design and delivery of schemes that impact us. We encourage all disabled people – across all the impairment groups – to share their views as part of this consultation, to ensure the data is as representative and reflective as it can be.”

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