Ever since manual boarding ramps were first introduced as a ‘temporary’ measure on the Tube for the Olympics and Paralympics, Transport for All has campaigned vociferously for them to stay, and to be rolled out to every station where a gap or step between platform and train makes it impossible for disabled people to use the station.
So the news that a further nineteen stations and forty platforms will be opened up to disabled passengers is a real boost to our right to get out and about and enjoy London.
The new ramps, together with other improvements such as low floor trains and raised platforms will mean that 149 station platforms out of the 195 which are stepfree from platform to street will now provide access onto the train as well – that’s 76%.
There are still some stations (such as Kilburn) where because the train is lower than the platform, a ramp is not considered to be a safe solution for boarding the train. These stations will remain difficult or impossible to use for scooter and wheelchair users who cannot manage a gap or step.
The following stations will have ramps introduced over the summer.
Caledonian Road, East Ham, Elm Park, Epping, Farringdon, Hainault, Hillingdon, Hounslow East, Kew Gardens, Mile End, Richmond, Rickmansworth, Roding Valley, South Woodford, Theydon Bois, Upney, Uxbridge, West Finchley and Wood Lane.
Please note that some of these (e.g. Mile End) do not have stepfree access to street, but the ramp facilitates changing line. Others like South Woodford have stepfree access in one direction only. (For more information, see TfL’s stepfree Tube map).
The following stations have had step free access since last summer:
Hammersmith (H&C), King’s Cross St. Pancras, West Ham, Westminster, Southfields, Wimbledon, Earl’s Court, Fulham Broadway, Stratford, Woodford, Oxford Circus, Queen’s Park, Edgware, Morden, Finchley Central and Stockwell.
Sulaiman Khan is one of those who campaigned for the ‘temporary’ ramps to stay after the 2012 Games, and to be rolled out to further stations. He said:
“This is great news. Ramps will give older & disabled people more freedom and independence to get on with our lives and not be second class citizens. Since the ramps were introduced in summer, I can go places that I couldn’t go to before. Previously, I used the Tube about once a year, but since then I’ve travelled into London at least 50 or 60 times and gone to events. Before, I’d have to take a taxi, but now its much easier, faster and cheaper. Having ramps at more stations will enable me to travel more spontaneously and with more flexibility.
“I hope that TfL continue to support Tube staff with training, and work with disabled people towards accessibility.”