Last month the Mayor of London released his draft Transport Strategy, outlining his vision for the future of travel in the city.
This document is very important: The policies presented in the strategy will shape transport accessibility for years to come.
The draft is open to consultation until the 1st October, and we need your help to ensure Disabled and older people’s voices are heard (please download our answer at the bottom of this article).
While there are lots of positives for access in the new transport strategy, Transport for All (TfA) is calling for some key improvements to ensure Disabled and older people are free to travel with freedom and independence just like everyone else.
Transport for All’s MTS principles
Set a timeline for 100% step-free access
Access targets in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy include making the Tube 40% step-free by 2022 and halving step-free journey times to make them comparable with the wider network.
Currently around 80% of London underground stations do not have step-free access so it’s heartening to see long term strategic targets on transport access but the strategy lacks detail on how this programme will be delivered.
At TfA we also feel that the strategy could be bolder – 40% access by 2022 is progress but London needs to be striving for a 100% accessible Tube network. If underground access progressed at the rate outlined in the MTS barely 50% of Tube stations would be accessible by 2040. We need to see some bolder long term targets on opening up the Tube network to Disabled people.
It’s also vital that Transport for London (TfL) also sets targets on the introduction of tactile paving, access points and hearing loops to make London’s Tube and Rail services truly accessible.
Commit to Turn-Up-And-Go
While improvements to accessible infrastructure are essential, London’s network would be unusable for many without the support and assistance offered by staff. It’s fantastic that the draft strategy contains a commitment to pushing Network rail to provide Turn-up-and-go assistance at all staffed stations.
However, it must also contain a clear unequivocal commitment to continue to provide Turn-up-and-go assistance on all TfL rail, Overground and Underground services and to providing the staff needed to ensure lifts across the network are operational whenever a station is open.
Make a plan for people with invisible Impairments
People with Invisible Impairments face just as many barriers to travel as people with mobility impairment.
Unfortunately, the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy doesn’t contain a single reference to people with invisible impairments and many of the City’s concession schemes such as Taxicard are notoriously difficult for them to access.
From designating quiet spaces where people can travel without being overwhelmed by background noise to ensuring staff are available to provide face to face assistance – there’s a lot that TfL could do to make transport more accessible to people with invisible impairments.
It’s time for London to have a plan for access for people with invisible impairments.
Prioritise bus passenger safety
Over 12,000 people are injured a year on London’s buses – at TfA we hear regularly from Disabled and older people have hurt themselves or lost their confidence after a bus has pulled away too quickly or turned too sharply.
The Mayor should set clear targets to improve bus passenger safety and ensure there are strong financial incentives for bus companies to deliver safer services.
Make cycle lanes work for everyone
New cycle lanes and infrastructure broaden travel opportunities for many, but this must not be at the expense of Disabled pedestrians.
All new cycle infrastructures must be fully accessible to Disabled cyclists and designed in a way that ensures everyone feel safe.
Guarantee door to door services for those who need it
Door to door services are essential to ensure that Disabled and older people are able to travel confidently in London; Without them many people would be left isolated.
The strategy must set a clear commitment to improving the reliability and availability of these services to those who need them, in line with the rapid improvements in taxi and PHV service provision.
Ensure that Disabled passengers can still use cars when they need them
While significant portions of London’s public transport network remain inaccessible many Disabled and older people rely on cars, taxis and PHVs to travel. We should not be asked to pay congestion charges for transport we need.
Any plans to reduce motor traffic through the city must ensure that Disabled and older people are able to use cars when they need them.
Make Oxford Street accessible
The Oxford Street transformation is potentially a real opportunity to rethink the transport system in the West End of London. However, it has the potentially to be extremely harmful for transport access in the area.
Buses are currently one of the most accessible forms of transport in London, and are relied on by many Disabled transport users to travel through the West End. They are also heavily used for short range transport on Oxford Street itself.
We cannot create an innovative, world class retail centre that is inaccessible to one fifth of the population, and Disabled people must not be asked to endure even more disruption and increased journey times.
If the Oxford Street is pedestrianised the Mayor must commit to providing innovative solutions in order to ensure that the street is fully accessible.
Design London’s buses to have space for everyone
Earlier this year Doug Pauley’s Supreme Court case highlighted the daily struggle Disabled people face when accessing the bus.
At TfA we have been fighting for years for stronger policies and better bus designs to ensure that Disabled and older people are able to access the wheelchair priority space when they need it.
The draft strategy contains a commitment to ‘improving the accessibility of bus designs’, at TfA we feel that a vital part of this will be creating separate wheelchair and buggy spaces so that Disabled people can travel with confidence.
Respond to the consultation
We need as many Disabled and older people as possible to respond to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy as possible, to ensure that it works for everyone.
Please respond to the consultation to ensure your voice is heard. Alternatively, use our response template (click here to download the Word version) and send it
- by email: email@example.com
- by post: FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS
Mayors Transport Strategy Forum
On the 7th of September we are holding a forum on the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, with a key notes speech from Deputy Mayor Val Shawcross. The meeting will be an opportunity for members and organisations to learn more about the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and to give feedback on the draft document.
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