TFL launched a huge consultation this week, focusing on step-free access priorities to build vital information for the future step-free improvements of Tube stations.
The public consultation began on Tuesday the 2nd of November and will run until Thursday the 10th of February 2022 and is the first of its kind for 15 years.
The information from the consultation will both shape and inform the vital step-free access improvements needed on the London Underground network, making them more accessible and bringing far-reaching and beneficial effects by supporting more Londoners to independently access the public transport network.
Just over half of the Transport for London (TfL) rail network, including Tube, DLR, London Overground, London Trams and TfL Rail services are now step free.
In 2016, 21 Tube stations were made step-free as part of the London Underground accessibility programme, the Crossrail project and the Northern Line Extension.
The total number of step-free stations on the Tube today is now 89, which is almost 33% of the network.
TfL wants the views of everyone across London who may benefit from improved accessibility across the public transport network.
Osterley became the 89th step-free station on the London Underground last month.
TfL would like to encourage older people, disabled people, parents, carers, and people with long or short-term medical conditions, as well as those who travel with bulky luggage or equipment for work.
Borough councils will also be asked for feedback throughout the consultation process.
Once complete, TfL will analyse the responses and publish its findings during spring 2022. The findings will also be analysed alongside TfL’s own passenger data, transport modelling and engineering feasibility which will support the delivery of a better and fairer future London Underground step-free station programme, if the vital additional funding is available.
As funding moving forward could be limited, TfL feel that it is essential to prioritise effectively, with the findings of the consultation assisting with this process.
Londoners can share their views using the online consultation platform:
Esther Sharples, Director of Asset Performance and Capital Delivery, 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 Mayor for Transport 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 provide 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’s Campaigns Lead, 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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