Last Tuesday, disabled and older Londoners gathered together at City Hall for the launch of our joint election demands for more equality in areas such as transport access, housing and education.
This manifesto, called “Disabled People’s Challenge to the next Mayor of London“, has been put together by Transport for All, Inclusion London and the Alliance for Inclusive Education, in consultation with our members. It includes our five demands for a transport network that everyone can use.
This week, we also met Labour mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan and Conservative mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith to discuss our demands. We have now met all of the major mayoral candidates including Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry.
Our joint manifesto
There are 1.2 million Disabled people in London, making up over 14% of the population, who remain one of the most marginalised and excluded groups in society. The incomes of Disabled Londoners fell by 29% over the five years from 2007/8 to 2012/13 – double the equivalent figure for non-Disabled Londoners. Meanwhile Disabled Londoners experience inequality in every area of their lives such as housing, education and transport.
One TfA member said “I used to work in the centre of London. It was taking me two hours each way to get in to work commuting by the tube both days. Part of the reason it took me so long was that I had to take a couple of extra buses to go out of my way to get to a station where there was a lift to go up to the platforms”.
The Mayor of London and Greater London Assembly have significant powers that can address disadvantage and enable Disabled Londoners to participate as active citizens in the life of the capital city.
Faryal Velmi of Transport said “We welcome the opportunity of the London Elections 2016 to put issues affecting Disabled Londoners firmly on the agenda and look forward to working with the next Mayor and newly elected London Assembly members to build a city that is equal and inclusive for all”.
Our five election demands for accessible transport
We are calling on all of the Mayoral and London Assembly candidates to sign up to our five demands for a transport network that everyone can use. Disabled and older people want to be able to travel with the same freedom and independence as everyone else.
1) Improve the Bus user experience for disabled and older Londoners
Incentivise bus companies through stricter penalties to enforce wheelchair priority in the wheelchair bay, and to enforce pulling right up to the bus stop, pulling into the kerb, and giving people enough time to sit down before the bus moves off.
Work with passenger groups and invest in more spacious buses so that wheelchair/mobility scooter users, assistance dog users, people with walkers and buggies etc. are not put into conflict when travelling.
2) More investment into making the Tube and railway stations fully accessible
Increase the pace of making Tube and railway stations accessible. Only a quarter of the Tube is step-free to platform, and step-free upgrades are happening too slowly.
3) Door-to-Door transport services that meet the needs of London’s growing older population
We need reliable and affordable door-to-door services that end the postcode lottery of trips and allows disabled and older Londoners to travel further than five miles.
4) Ensure that at least 25% of London’s minicabs (PHVs) are wheelchair/mobility scooter accessible
The new Mayor must incentivise the industry and implement measures (already introduced in other UK cities) to tackle the dearth of accessible minicabs.
5) Nothing about us without us
Reinstate the structures at City Hall that facilitated genuine engagement and consultation including twice-yearly meetings between Transport for All and the Deputy Mayor for Transport.
Question your Mayoral and Assembly candidates and cast your vote with transport access in mind.
Question your candidates
Up until the election there will be lots of opportunities (e.g. hustings, radio call-ins) to ask Mayoral and Assembly candidates about these issues and to find out if they’ll support equality for disabled and older transport users. We’d love to hear how you get on: phone us, email us or tweet us and let us know what your candidates committed to.
Go out and vote!
Disabled people represent over 14% of the population in London, yet we remain one of the most marginalised groups in society. Participating in the democratic process is our right.