The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today announced a major boost to the accessibility of the London Underground network by confirming that a further 13 Tube stations will be made step-free by spring 2022. The initiative is part of his £200m investment to make Tube travel more accessible and open up the city for everyone.
The next Ealing borough stations to benefit from step-free access will be: Hanger Lane, Northolt, North Ealing and Park Royal. Boston Manor and Sudbury Hill, which are literally on the borders of the borough will also benefit from the announced improvements. Along with seven other stations across London, these stations currently see over 33 million passenger journeys each year.
The Mayor’s £200m investment, the biggest in the Tube’s 155-year history, will bring the total number of Underground stations with step-free access to all platforms to more than 100. This represents 40 per cent of the network, a significant increase on the current level of 27 per cent. The investment is a key part of the Mayor’s draft Transport Strategy, which aims to create a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city by improving public transport and reducing reliance on car journeys.
The increase in the number of step-free stations will significantly improve the accessibility of the Tube, making life easier for older and disabled people. It will also give a greater choice of travel options for everyone, and directly benefit parents and carers with children and buggies.
As part of the Tube accessibility programme, a new lift contract has been introduced that can be replicated across many stations. It delivers the same standards of reliability but at a fraction of the cost and length of time it previously took to design, manufacture and install a lift. Transport for London (TfL) anticipates that this initiative will cut the cost of installing each lift cut by 70 per cent, making savings of £15m for reinvestment in improving transport in London. It will also cut the delivery time by 40 per cent, allowing TfL to introduce step-free access in the quickest time possible.
Cllr Bassam Mahfouz, Ealing’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Transport & Leisure was on hand this morning as the announcement was made at Northolt station, saying, “Accessibility at our stations can change people’s lives – giving residents affordable access to central London for business and pleasure for the first time. We’ve led the way in Ealing to show how we can transform the underground and install step-free access with our work with TfL at Greenford. It is great to have a Mayor who has put step-free access back as a priority and residents across Northolt, Ealing and Acton will benefit from these much needed improvements. Those with young children; in wheelchairs or have mobility issues will massively benefit, as will the economy.”
The full opening of the Elizabeth line in 2019 will also be a huge moment for the accessibility of London’s transport network, with every station being step-free. The line will provide a key new east-west link across the Capital, serving step-free stations at the heart of London, with all platforms and trains accessible and step-free.
As well as improvements to accessibility on the Tube, TfL has the most accessible bus fleet in the world, with all 9,000 buses low-floor wheelchair accessible and fitted with ramps, which are checked daily to ensure they are working. Work has also been carried out with London’s boroughs to improve bus stop accessibility with almost all bus stops now wheelchair accessible.
All 22,000 of London’s taxis are fitted with wheelchair ramps and TfL has begun work to enhance access at taxi ranks.