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Transport for All News

Manual ramps will be rolled out to further Tube stations


Transport for All have welcomed Transport for London (TfL)’s announcement of a programme of work which will improve accessibility across the transport network.

One of the key announcements is that the manual boarding ramps on the Tube will be kept at the existing 16 stations, and rolled out to more stations during 2013. The ramps, which were put in place to make the Tube more accessible for visitors to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, were initially a temporary measure.

Since they were introduced in July, Transport for All has campaigned for the ramps to be kept in place for Londoners to use and they are rolled out at more step free stations.

There are currently 66 step-free Underground stations, but many of these are only step-free as far as the platform, as a step or gap between the train and the platform makes it impossible for most wheelchair users to board the train. The ramps are a simple and cost effective way, to make all of those stations fully accessible to wheelchair users.

At stations where there is a step between the platform and the train, the ideal solution would be to raise a section of the platform so that wheelchair users can board trains without relying on a stations staff member. Platform humps do not work however for stations where there is a gap between the train and the platform.

Further measures released in the Mayor’s plans are:

  • Making 70 per cent of bus stops accessible by spring 2013 and at least 95 per cent by the end of 2016
  • Involving disabled and older people in the training of transport staff
  • £250m for stepfree stations – another 16 on the Tube by 2021 including at Bond Street, Vauxhall, and Victoria
  • Thirty-five more stations with platform humps – a third of the Tube will have level access by 2016
  • Improving the way that step-free advice is displayed to make it clearer which stations have level access throughout and which are step-free in the station but have a gap between the platform and the train.

Read the Your Accessible Transport Network document in full.


Wheelchair space on buses campaign


Transport for London (TfL) have launched a campaign to promote the rules about who has priority in the wheelchair space on buses.

New signs and posters will be displayed on buses and at bus shelters and guidance has been provided to bus drivers to help them deal with this issue.

Although the vast majority of London’s buses are accessible to wheelchair users, there is only one space on the bus where wheelchair users can safely travel. It is a common complaint of bus users that this space is often occupied, most usually by people with children or babies in buggies. Passengers are usually unwilling to vacate this area, even though they can fold up their buggy and sit safely somewere else with their child. Wheelchair users can then turn to the driver, who can often be reluctant to ask the person with the buggy to move.

Over the last few years, Transport for All have consistantly raised this issue with Transport for London as it is without doubt the most common complaint we hear about bus access.

In August, TfL released an updated version of The Big Red Book, TfL’s official guidelines for all bus drivers in London which included clearer instructions for drivers when they are faced with this issue. It states that:

“Wheelchair users are to be given access to the wheelchair space even if it is occupied by other passengers or buggies. Use the iBus automated announcement to make it clear that the wheelchair space is needed. If necessary, politely but firmly ask the buggy owners to move or fold their buggies to let the wheelchair user into the area as this is the only safe place for them to travel. Explain you will give them the time they need to do this and be patient and polite. Do not move off until they are re-positioned.

Sometimes it is possible for a wheelchair and an unfolded buggy to share the space. You should allow this provided the wheelchair user is in the correct position and the buggy does not block the gangway.’

Although this was clearly a step in the right direction, wheelchair users still find themselves up against unhelpful passengers or drivers reluctant to intervene.

TfL have promised to promote this campaign until spring 2013. Hopefully making it clear to the public, and drivers, who has priority in this space, will make bus travel more reliable for all wheelchairs in London.

And finally £100m extra funding announced for Access for All scheme


An additional £100m of funding has been announced for The Access for All station improvement scheme. 154 train stations throughout the UK will be made more accessible by the end of 2014, and the programme will now be extended to 2019 so more stations can be transformed.

The improvements include installation of lifts and accessible toilets and the reduction of the gap between the platform and the train.

80 station improvements have already been completed by 1st April 2012. (Click here to see the complete list) The remaining stations will then be completed by the end of 2014. While 47 of these stations are in London, funding is restricted to National Rail stations.