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Step free access plans cut

Added: 13 May 2009 | Updated: 4 June 2009

The London underground is by far the quickest way to get around the capital.

However large swathes of the network are inaccessible to disabled people – with a series of stairs, gaps and obstacles preventing its use. The former Mayor, Ken Livingstone had promised that a third of all stations on the notoriously inaccessible network would be made step free by the end of 2013. The news of a ‘foundation network’ of step free stations was welcomed by many groups and individuals of disabled and older people.

However since Livingstones departure and with the worsening economic situation taking hold; step free plans have been seriously cut back – to the dismay of transport campaigners.

At a meeting held at City Hall in late April of the Key organisations of deaf and disabled people in London; Richard Barnes (AM) Deputy Mayor, remarked that that the previous adminstration had ‘lied’ about Tube accessibility plans. He claims that there was never any money to fund the ambitious upgrades.

Kulveer Ranger, Transport Policy advisor for Mayor Johnson, who was also present at the meeting, committed to a ‘funded’ promise – of making 25% of the Tube (68 stations) step-free by the end of 2010. The TfL Business Plan which covers a period till 2018 mentions that a total of 29% of LU stations becoming step free by that time - only accounting for a 4% improvement in step free access in 8 years.

Other enhancements have been promised like more accessible train design, wide aisle gates, improved information systems and way-finding – mostly to improve the look of the Underground in the run up to the Olympics in 2012.

London Underground has stated that cost of making 17 stations accessible to meet the ‘25% by 2010’ target is in the region of £400 million. This does not include the cost of providing step-free access at stations such as King’s Cross St. Pancras or Heathrow Terminal Five.

We are told that stop ten stations have been completed, eight will be completed by 2010, five will be completed post-2010, 22 have been deferred and two are now partial schemes.

However, local campaigners in a number of areas where step free access has been ‘deferred’ are angry that their hopes for accessible tube travel have been dashed.

The Islington Disability Network (IDN) are spearheading a campaign of local disabled and older people, to overturn the decision to defer step free access at Finsbury park and Highbury Station. Supported by elected representatives Jermey Corbyn MP and Jeanette Arnold (AM) the group will be campaigning on the issue over the next few months.

Stations that were listed to be made step-free by 2013 and their current status.

1 Acton Town Completed
2 Archway Deferred
3 Clapham South Deferred
4 East Putney Deferred
5 Edgware Deferred
6 Euston Square Partial. Step-free access to one platform by 2010.
7 Finchley Central Completed
8 Finsbury Park Deferred
9 Golders Green Completed

10 Greenford By 2010
11 Green Park By 2012
12 Hainault By 2010
13 Harrow-on-the-Hill Deferred
14 Heathrow T5 (New Station) Completed
15 Hendon Central Completed
16 High Barnet By 2010
17 Highbury and Islington Deferred

18 King’s Cross St. Pancras By 2010
19 Ladbroke Grove By 2010
20 Leytonstone Deferred
21 Mile End Deferred
22 Morden Completed
23 Newbury Park By 2010
24 North Acton Deferred
25 Oakwood Completed
26 Paddington (Hammersmith & City) Post 2010
27 Paddington (District, Circle, Bakerloo) Deferred
28 Pinner Completed

29 Rayners Lane Deferred
30 Roding Valley Complete
31 Shepherd’s Bush (Central line) Deferred
32 Southfields By 2010
33 Stockwell Deferred
34 Tooting Broadway Deferred

35 Tottenham Court Road Post-2010
36 Tower Hill Deferred
37 Vauxhall Deferred
38 Waterloo Partial. Step-free access to Waterloo & City line by 2010, step-free access to Jubilee line already exists.
39 Wood Lane (New Station) Completed
40 Kennington Deferred
41 South Kensington Deferred

42 Liverpool Street Deferred
43 Turnham Green Deferred
44 Victoria Post-2010
45 Wood Green Deferred