Greenford Station is finally set to have a lift installed to make it more accessible for wheelchair users, older people and parents with young children.
The station will be the first in London to have an incline lift installed which will travel along the slope next to a new escalator that will also be installed.
Transport for London (TfL) stopped work to install a traditional vertical lift at the station in 2009 because it could not afford the estimated £10million needed. Ealing Council persuaded TfL to change its plans after carrying out research showing an incline lift could be installed for £2million.
Other improvements planned for Greenford Station include installing a new escalator in the central stairway; making the ticket machines more accessible and installing disabled toilets.
Councillor Bassam Mahfouz, Cabinet member for Transport and Environment said: “This is fantastic news which will end years of frustration for passengers in wheelchairs by giving them step-free access to Tube and rail travel at Greenford. It will open the doors for many residents to be able to access central London for the first time without the worry of expensive taxis.
“Having helped people struggling with prams on the stairs at the station and holiday makers carrying luggage, I know that the council’s innovative and money-saving solution will benefit thousands of passengers each year. It could transform the underground to become a far more accessible service across London.”
Cllr Mahfouz was joined at Greenford Station by local residents in support of a lift at the station, including members of Ealing Transport Users Group.
Lianna Etkind from campaign charity Transport for All, a group which campaigns for fully accessible public transport for disabled and older Londoners said: “More than three quarters of London Underground is out of bounds to wheelchair and scooter users, because of steps. We warmly welcome plans to install a lift at Greenford station as a step towards a transport system which older and disabled people can use with the same freedom and independence as everyone else.
“Ealing Council’s innovative plans for an incline lift show that lift installation need not be prohibitively expensive. We urge TfL to roll out more step-free station projects like this one to make it easier for disabled and older people to get out and about using the Tube network.”
London Underground is set to begin work in May next year and complete it by Spring 2015.
A proposed contribution of £200,000 from Ealing Council towards the £2million cost of the lift will be discussed at a Cabinet meeting in September.