Major delays to step-free access improvements

Jeff, a white man with dark brown hair who is wearing a corduroy blazer and sat in an electric wheelchair using a breathing apparatus, is outside Walthamstow Tube station speaking to the camera about step-free access. The aston reads “Jeff Harvey, Trustee, Transport For All’

There are 270 Tube stations in London, but only 81 of these are described by TfL as being ‘step-free’. A further half of these do not have level boarding from platform to train and so require the use of manual boarding ramps.

Last weekend, BBC Politics followed TfA Trustee Jeff Harvey on a trip from Walthamstow to Victoria which should have taken 30 mins. It took him an hour and a quarter.

What are the latest plans for step-free access improvements?

The Mayor had previously promised 12 stations would be made ‘step-free’ by Spring 2020. These were: Amersham, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Cockfosters, Mill Hill East, Osterley, Burnt Oak, Debden, Northolt, Sudbury Hill, Wimbledon Park, Hanger Lane and Ickenham. 

But a year past the deadline, and only 3 (Amersham, Cockfosters, and Mill Hill East) are complete. 

9 stations’ step-free access projects are currently halted indefinitely due to lack of funds available. These plans would have made the London Underground 40% ‘step-free’.

In a statement to the BBC, TfL says:

“Due to the catastrophic impact of the pandemic and fall in passenger numbers of TfL’s finances, not all step-free schemes that were planned can currently be progressed.”

Watch the full report by Helen Drew.

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