Transport for All and Inclusion London have just completed a ground breaking training programme that saw us deliver twelve DET sessions to London Underground’s (LU) senior managers. This was after we delivered a DET session to LU Managing Director Mark Wild.
In the first ever programme of its kind we provided managers with a full days’ worth of training. This started with a two hour trip across the Tube network with a Disabled passenger who guided them through their everyday experiences of travelling on the LU. This uncovered a myriad of issues covering all aspects of access on the Tube.
We recruited a number of Disabled Tube users with a variety of different impairments to conduct the trips.
Joshua Hepple, one of the six Disabled guides who took LU Managers on a trip says:
“I know that the managers who have observed me using the Tube over the past few weeks have found the trip very eye-opening and often left speechless.
“When travelling with me, I found that they noticed things which they have never before considered. For example, tube acceleration is a major factor for me. Tubes that are slower seem to be safer, but the tubes that quickly accelerate, sometimes before I have my chair in the designated area, can jolt my chair. Buses have time to wait until I am in place and I can communicate with the driver easily, but I do not have the same advantage on the tube”.
The classroom session was taken up by the managers talking about their experiences with their guides and discussing how the problems they encountered could be mitigated.
The second part of the training was learning about the social model of Disability and language as well some myth busting around Disabled people in the UK.
Mike Smith, General Manager of the Circle & Hammersmith Line, who attended the training, said: “The day was amazing. I was lucky enough to travel around with two people who have different impairments and was amazed at how things I take for granted are such enormous barriers for them.
“We have a massive investment programme to make more than 30 additional stations step-free by 2021/22, but many of our disabled customers have very different needs. For me, it was clear that there is still a knowledge gap around just how difficult our network can be for disabled customers, but also how much our own staff can have a positive impact on this.
“I learnt that the best possible way to find out what help an individual actually requires is talking to that person themselves. So the biggest change we can make, at virtually no cost and with quick results, is to ask our customers what they need. That’s what I will be encouraging my staff to do.”
TfA and IL have trained front line Tube staff over the last few years and greatly welcomed the opportunity to also work with senior managers. We hope it is a model that other parts of TfL and indeed the rest of the transport industry will follow.
Since you’re here …
… we have a small favour to ask. Transport for All is proud to be an independent grassroots charity and we depend on donations and support from our members. Every day Disabled and older people have their lives restricted (or even become housebound) because transport services fail them. Take action so that everyone can access buses with independence