Transport for London announces accessibility upgrades

Mayor Sadiq Khan said the changes showed his commitment to “making our transport network as fair and accessible as possible” reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

A passenger in a a wheelchair being helped on to a London Underground train by a member of staff in hi-viz
A TfL staff member helps a customer use a new mini ramp – (Credit – TfL)

A raft of more than 80 upgrades to make the capital’s Tube and bus network more accessible has been announced by Transport for London (TfL).

‘Mini-ramps’ are set to be installed at some London Underground stations, which are labelled ‘step-free from street to train’ but still have a small gap between the train and platform.

The improvements are set out in a new plan launched on Friday called ‘Equity in Motion’. One key goal is for TfL to increase the proportion of step-free Tube stations from a third to half.

The plan commits to creating more dedicated spaces for wheelchair users and buggies on the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo and City line trains.

TfL will also install specific fabric patterns – called moquettes – to its 1,000 Routemaster buses by 2025, to better show which seats are prioritised for the elderly, disabled and pregnant.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “London is for everyone and I am committed to making our transport network as fair and accessible as possible so that every Londoner can make the most of our fantastic city.

“TfL is committed to removing the barriers that people face when using the transport network and enabling more people to travel spontaneously, seamlessly and easily.

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“Some of these vital improvements are already underway and there are many more to come, helping us to continue building a better, fairer London for everyone.”

TfL says that several of the changes will be implemented this year, while others will be by 2030, subject to Government funding.

Other measures listed in the plan are not physical changes but are instead intended to create a more inclusive environment for marginalised groups.

These include the introduction of disability equality training for frontline staff and the commissioning of research to understand the needs of London’s different communities, including LGBTQ+ people. A report last year by London TravelWatch revealed that one in five LGBTQ+ Londoners has experienced hate crime on the capital’s public transport.

Alex Williams, chief customer and strategy officer at TfL, said: “Our vision is a London where everyone can move around the city safely, inclusively and sustainably, and access to public transport is a fundamental component in making this happen.

“While we have taken steps to make our network more accessible, we know that much more needs to be done. Equity in Motion draws on the experiences and viewpoints of a range of Londoners, prioritising the areas they want to see improved to create tangible actions that drive forward change and help make London a truly fair city.

“TfL has already begun work on many of the plan’s longer-term actions, including improving HGV safety standards, launching new cycle lanes and reducing road danger across London. Other longer-term actions include making further improvements to toilets across the network.”

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