Since I have been involved on disabilitymatch I have been far more conscious on the subject of disabled access. Some places are extraordinarily unfriendly whilst some places are a total joy. I try to see things from a disabled point of view although I am abled bodied myself. Living in LLondonmy first gripe must be the tube service and especially connections between tube and mainline stations.
Nearly 80% of tube stations are still not accessible, while the everyday experience of wheelchair users attempting to navigate the city is one of being unable to board buses and being ignored by taxis, the group said.
At Waterloo you can take a lift down to the Jubilee line platform , it’s not always so easy – try getting a wheelchair on to a tube during morning and evening rush hour. Also, while the carriages in this case are fairly level with the train – the Jubilee is the newest tube line – at other times there would be a need for a helping hand from a staff member, if one was around.
A total of 65 tube stations now have step-free access, and there is a network of 8,500 low-floor buses fitted with wheelchair ramps and onboard visual and audio announcements – the most accessible network in the country. Of the Victoria station situation,
London Underground has an ongoing legal duty to blind and partially sighted people under the Disability Discrimination Act,” said its director, Sue Sharp.
“Failure to honour their obligations as they carry out repairs and refurbishments would be both illegal and a serious dereliction of their duty.”
Access can also be improved at shops. On Oxford Street, for example, there are so many steps in the shops they have there, and nothing for wheelchair users. Also ,at a lot of restaurants, the toilets are either upstairs or downstairs. If they don’t have facilities for me then what’s the point of me going? The Department for Work and Pensions recognised this problem when they recently urged retailers to make their shops more accessible to the disabled. It makes sense: why would they want to exclude over 12m men, women and children from their business? On a positive note Mike Brown of LT says all Crossrail stations will be disabled friendly.
“With Crossrail we have an opportunity to embed accessibility at the heart of the city’s transport network. That’s why we are funding improvements that will mean that all Crossrail stations in London are step-free. This will transform how disabled people can travel in and across the city, and we will now continue to work with the Department for Transport to ensure that all the other stations on the route are accessible.”