Call for action on access to London public transport


Disabled people must do more to campaign for better access to London’s transport network according to a leading activist.

Faryal Velmi, director of the accessible transport charity Transport for All, told the Disability Capital event that disabled people should be inspired by historic transport access campaigns led by radical disability activists.

She said: “We have to look at how we can take the spirit and struggle of those campaigners, how we can take those forward.”

She told delegates at the event, organised by the Mayor of London, that there were major problems with buses, the tube network and door-to-door transport.

Bus companies should introduce “proper rigorous training” around disability and disability equality, and there should be a high-profile campaign emphasising the right of disabled people to travel on buses, she said.

And she called for more disabled people to use public transport – so as to increase their “visibility” and help address disablist attitudes – and to register access complaints with transport providers and Transport for London (TfL).

Velmi also warned that door-to-door transport should “not be seen as the poor relation in the TfL family”.

She said an accessible tube network was “vital” to plans to make London 2012 the most accessible Olympic and Paralympic Games ever, and that her organisation was “bitterly disappointed” that work to make a number of tube stations step-free had been deferred.

She called for the Department for Transport to “step in and inject money into the tube network to get these plans moving”.

Wayne Trevor, accessibility and inclusion manager for London Underground, told delegates that new trains being rolled out on the Victoria line over the next two years would be the first tube carriages to meet the Disability Discrimination Act’s rail accessibility regulations.  

>From 2010, the new trains will also start appearing on the Metropolitan, Hammersmith and City, Circle and District lines, he said.

25 September 2009