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TfA Biennial General Meeting

Transport for All

On the 30th January, Transport for All held our Biennial General meeting; a great occasion to report to members about the...

On the 30th January, Transport for All held our Biennial General meeting; a great occasion to report to members about the work done over last two years and speak about future plans.

Together we celebrated campaigns run over the last two years, including our victory on an accessible Crossrail; our patient transport campaign “Sick of Waiting”; and our campaign for Turn up and go assistance.

As part of the formal BGM business, two new trustees were elected: Jeff Harvey and Patrick Roberts. Stephen Aselford, Alan Benson, Luisa Ferreira, and Mohammed Mohsan Ali were re-elected.

Keynote by Mike Brown, TfL Commissioner

After the formal business, we were pleased to welcome Mike Brown, Commissioner of Transport for London.. During his keynote address, he renewed TfL’s commitment to passengers, saying that “every journey matters“. He also went on to say “I know the annoyances experienced by passengers, and that these are more acute for disabled and older people. Appointments may be missed that took months to arrange, or affect social lives and work; and for a few it means not travelling at all”.

Speaking about transport improvements happening in London, Mike Brown made a tribute to Transport for All: “Your campaign on Crossrail was vital to step free access. You didn’t give up – and you were right. I am delighted it was successful”.

Addressing our recent actions on lift closure due to shortage of staff, he declared: “I am committed, as a new Commissioner, that we will have staff on the underground at each station, but not at ticket offices as they don’t exist now. But they will be at stations for Turn Up and Go assistance. I know staff shortages cause the same problems as a lift out of service. Each time we get it wrong is one time too many”. Last week, the Mayor and Secretary of State for Transport announced that TfL will take over suburban rail lines across the capital. This means Turn-Up-and-Go assistance at more stations.

Mike Brown finally highlighted the importance of having information easily accessible so passengers know what services are available: “When we have a lift that is not in service, we should treat it with the same rigour and real time information and support, as if the whole line was shut”.

He concluded by saying that he values feedback from our members: “We may not always agree, but I hope we can remain friends and improve access to London”.

Mike Brown finished by answering many questions from members, on issues from Taxicard to bus design to Capital Call. We have forwarded him questions which were not answered and we will publish his replies soon.

Transport for All Awards

During the event, we were very pleased to introduce the inaugural Transport for All Awards 2016, recognising the achievements of our members. It is a privilege to work with such inspiring people whose passion and tenacity makes a real difference in improving transport services for disabled and older people.

  • The FixIt Award went to Chris Stapleton. Chris never gives up on reporting issues when it comes to problems with transport access. With the support of our Helpline team, he has taken complaints on many issues. His persistent reporting on locked accessible toilets led to TfL carrying out a toilet audit at all bus stations in London.
  • The Campaign Success Award went to Gina Vettese. Gina has led the Scooter Equality campaign with TfA to end the ban that many train companies have on mobility scooters boarding trains. As a result, three train operators have stated that they will remove their blanket ban on scooters – Grand Central, London Midland and Gatwick Express. Only Northern Rail are now holding out.
  • The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award is Gwynneth Pedler. Gwyneth joined us after many years campaigning for transport access in Oxford, where she continually championed the voice of disabled transport users. On arriving in London, this member hurled herself into transport activism. She is at the vanguard of every transport protest TfA organises and won’t let anything stand in the way of building on her impressive achievements and winning transport equality.
  • The Maggie Sarragne Outstanding Achievement Award went to Valerie Shawcross. Valerie is chair of the London Assembly’s Transport Committee who will be retiring from office this year. In the last 15 years at City Hall she has led many important investigations and made key recommendations, including into improvements to Dial-a-Ride and Taxicard , demanding 25% of London minicabs be wheelchair accessible and generally raising the issue of accessibility whenever and wherever she can.

Bolder Voices

The political choir of older people came to entertain members with their songs. They regaled us with “Love That Freedom Pass” and“Hey Mr Boris” (about short crossing times). They also introduced their brand new song on Tube access, composed in honour of the occasion, “3 out of 4”:

“3 out of 4 Tube stations

are not disabled friendly

3 out of 4 Tube stations

will leave you in the cold”

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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