On Thursday the 3rd May, 1,851 council seats will be up for election in 32 of London’s boroughs. On top of this, Hackney, Lewisham, Newham and Tower Hamlet will also elect their mayors.
These elections are a big deal. Most transport services in the capital are the responsibility of Transport for London. However, local authorities control and administer a number of key services and concessions available to Disabled and older people like Blue Badge, Freedom Pass and Taxicard (individual boroughs control their own eligibility and application procedures); as well as controlling streets and many roads. Effective lobbying from local councils can make a decisive difference when Transport for London (TfL) or the Department for Transport (DfT) are looking at making Tube or Railway stations accessible.
London Councils, a powerful consortium of London’s boroughs which has overall strategic control of Taxicard and Freedom Pass is in turn governed by the political party that has the greatest number of council seats.
We are calling on all of the local council and mayoral candidates to sign up to our seven 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.
Our seven election demands for accessible transport
- Will you work towards introducing or re-instating double swiping for Taxicard? (for example, being able to use two of your Taxicard trips at once for one longer journey).
- Will you clear our street of A-boards which make so many of our pavements into an obstacle course for visually and mobility impaired people?
- Will you make sure that all bus stops are fully accessible? Buses should be able to pull in near the kerb, to help Disabled and older people to get on board. Councillors should also put pressure on TfL to make sure that all bus stop bypasses on cycle lanes are safe for pedestrian to cross (with installation of priority signs and zebra crossings)
- Will you ensure that all pedestrian crossings that are under the control of the council are fully accessible, with tactile and/or audio signal; and allow enough time to cross?
- Will you lobby TfL, train companies and Government to set out a funded timetabled programme to making stations in the borough fully accessible?
- Will you support the appointment of a Councillor whose focus would be Disability and inclusion, including accessible transport within the borough?
- Will you take a trip with Disabled and older constituents? There is no substitute for direct experience. We are calling on all candidates to commit to making a journey with a Disabled or older person – or better still, a group – to see first-hand the barriers that we encounter every day.
Question your candidates
We urge all of our members and supporters to contact their local candidates – and after the election their newly elected councillors – and speak to them about how important it is to have safe, usable and accessible transport services both locally and across London. Up until the election there will be lots of opportunities (for example hustings) to ask them to sign up to our five demands for a transport network that everyone can use.
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.
Make sure that you are registered to vote
To vote in the local and Mayoral elections you must be registered to vote by midnight on Tuesday 17 April and be:
- aged 18 or over.
- a resident in the London borough.
- a British, Commonwealth, Irish or EU citizen.
→To register to vote, go to: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
You can also register by post. You can download voter registration forms in different formats (including easy read and large print) that you can print out via https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/voter-registration-forms-paper-versions
To apply for a postal vote go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote
Please note that anyone can apply for a postal vote – you don’t need a special reason for wanting one.
If you are unable to vote in person you can get someone to vote for you (called a proxy), and tell them who to vote for. To apply for a proxy vote go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/proxy-voting-application-forms
Finally, make sure that your polling station is fully accessible by contacting your local electoral office.