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More cuts to Step Free Tube Programme

Transport for All

Only 7 stations remain on the list of the orginal 45...

Only 7 stations remain on the list of the orginal 45!

After hearing news last week on workers filling in lift shafts at Newbury Park station due to lack of funds (read article here) Transport for All decided it was time to look into the progress of the Step Free Access Programme.

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.

At a meeting held at City Hall in April 2009 of the Key organisations of deaf and disabled people in London, Richard Barnes (AM) Deputy Mayor, claimed that there was never any money to fund the ambitious upgrades. Kulveer Ranger, Transport Policy advisor for Mayor Johnson, committed to a ‘funded’ promise – of making 25% of the Tube step-free by the end of 2010.

At that time we were told of the 45 stations on the original list, ten 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. View our article at the time about these cuts here.

Despite local campaigns against stations moved to the deferred list such as Finsbury Park, no success has been achieved.

Last week, we wrote to London Underground to complain about the halted works at Newbury Park Station (which was one of the eight lucky stations that remained on the list to be made step free by 2010), and to enquire to the progress of the others. This is the response to our letter:

Regarding Newbury Park Station: “The article does make the situation out to be worse than it is- the ‘filling in of the lift shafts’ is not accurate. The team was on site undertaking ‘enabling works’ so the lift shafts hadn’t been constructed .The station site is being ‘made good’ and the enabling works which had taken place will as far as possible ensure future SFA routes can be preserved.”

Regarding the Step Free Access Programme: “The status of the Undergrounds step-free plans is very disappointing to us- after years of planning and development work, the current economic downturn has resulted in some bitterly tough decisions.”

“Stations that are still being provided are:

King’s Cross St Pancras– current step-free to all lines except Northern, which is due by summer 2010

Southfields– Autumn 2010

Kingsbury– Autumn 2010

Hainault– Summer 2010

Farringdon– 2011/12

Blackfriars– 2011

Green Park– 2012”

We would like to know what is happening with Euston Square, Greenford, High Barnet, Ladbroke Grove, Newbury Park, Paddington (Hammersmith & City) and Waterloo (Waterloo & City) – stations which were all due to be step free by 2010. Have the Step Free Access plans been deferred or scrapped completely?

We would also like to know what has led to the deferment in each individual case. It is not good enough to simply site the economic downturn. Who made the decision to scrap SFA works on these stations and on what basis?

The 2009 edition of TfL’s Business Plan 2009/2010 – 2017/18 which was released 24th November blames the collapse of Metronet and claims a few of these scrapped stations were chosen because of their proximity to other step-free stations – but it is still unknown what is happening with Euston Square, Paddington, High Barnet, or Waterloo.

This week the Mayor has promised £155m for local transport improvements across London but no funds have been allocated to Tube station improvements from what TfA has read. The full breakdown of the allocated funds can be viewed here.

If you have any news or details of campaigns in your area please get in touch by emailing or phoning 020 7737 2339

A man standing in front of a painted brick wall smiling at the camera. He is holding a cane and is wearing glasses, a black jacket and a grey t-shirt. A man standing in front of a painted brick wall smiling at the camera. He is holding a cane and is wearing glasses, a black jacket and a grey t-shirt.

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