Mayor’s £200m investment boosts Underground step-free access

06 December 2016

·         £200m confirmed investment in step-free access on the London Underground over the next five years

·         Investment will bring the total number of step-free access stations on London Underground to more than 100 stations

·         Step free access at Harrow on the Hill and Newbury Park stations confirmed today - with work brought forward to 2017.


The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that he will instigate the biggest boost to step-free access on the Underground in the network's 153 year history, by investing an additional £200m over the next five years.


As part of its draft Business Plan, Transport for London (TfL) has committed to making more than 30 additional Tube stations step-free by 2021/22.


The move will bring the total number of stations with step-free access to all platforms to more than 100, representing more than 40 per cent of the Underground network and significantly increasing the proportion from the current level of 26 per cent.


It will substantially 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 will directly benefit parents and carers with children and buggies.


TfL is also today announcing that they will bring forward the much needed delivery of step-free access at outer London stations at Harrow on the Hill and Newbury Park, which together see nearly 15 million journeys every year, with work beginning in 2017. This is in addition to major stations such as Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road and Victoria becoming step-free in 2017. 


Already under Sadiq Khan’s mayoralty, step-free access has been introduced at major Tube stations such as Tower Hill and Vauxhall and work to make Finsbury Park station step free is underway.


TfL will also utilise the latest technology and knowledge from the wider transport industry to speed up the delivery of making the world’s oldest network more accessible. Work will also progress at vital interchanges such as Bank and at Elephant & Castle.


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 step-free.


The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:


“As part of making London’s transport system one of the very best in the world we must ensure it is accessible for all Londoners. It’s simply not right that for people with disabilities, parents with young children and many older people, many of our stations are still very difficult to use.


“I promised in my manifesto that we needed to be more ambitious with our approach to step-free access, and today I’m confirming that £200m will be invested on the Underground over the next five years.


“We’re also announcing plans to bring forward the delivery of step-free access at outer London stations at Harrow on the Hill and Newbury Park. Work is now set to get underway at these busy stations next year.


“As part of building a modern and affordable transport system, I’m determined to make sure all Londoners can get around London safely and easily.”


Ruth Owen, Chief Executive of Whizz-Kidz, said:


“Public transport is a lifeline for disabled people, but we know that accessibility can be a major barrier for wheelchair users who, like anyone else, just want to get from A to B. We therefore warmly welcome the Mayor of London’s plans to invest in making the Underground more accessible, and his clear commitment to making the city more inclusive for the many disabled people who live and work there.”


Annie O’Leary, Editor-in-Chief at Netmums, said:


“These plans are hugely welcome, and will make such a difference to those who currently struggle to use the Tube. A more accessible network will benefit so many families and make life much easier for anyone travelling with a buggy.”


Karen Lord, Head of Branch at John Lewis Oxford Street, said:


“Improved station accessibility is key to our customers - whether that's mums with prams, disabled shoppers, the elderly, or simply those with heavy bags. We welcome the £200m planned investment on this initiative in stations across London, complementing the upgrades at Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road, which will help transform the shopping experience for many on Oxford Street.”


Janet Cooke, CEO of London TravelWatch, said:


“We are delighted to hear about these new developments - step-free access is good for everyone. We will continue to speak for all Londoners to progress the further steps needed to make the network fully accessible and work collaboratively with TfL to achieve this.”


Jane Brewin, Chief Executive at Tommy’s, said:


“Tommy’s aims to make pregnancy safer for all Londoners and we welcome this investment to make the Underground more accessible for mums-to-be and mums with buggies. Together Tommy’s and TfL are making London the best city in the world for families to live and thrive.”


Ruth Duston, Chief Executive of the Victoria Business Improvement District, said:


“Victoria is now a thriving commercial district with thousands of office and retailer workers, tourists and visitors every day. We welcome the investment in Victoria Underground station to make it easier than ever for people to come to the area, especially those with specific accessibility needs. Victoria is a gateway to London and therefore it is essential that we are able to give people the best possible welcome - our transport infrastructure is a vital part of that and so this commitment from the Mayor is good news for all who want to enjoy what London has to offer.”


Mark Wild, London Underground’s Managing Director, said:


“Making the Underground more accessible for our customers is one of our top priorities. We should not only be aspiring to, but actually making a reality of, a transport network that can be used by everyone. We have made good progress but we’re determined to do even more even quicker.  We will invest more than ever before in improving step-free access to ensure we provide services that serve every Londoner.”


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. It will also complete its work with London’s boroughs to improve bus stop accessibility. By the end of this year 95 per cent of bus stops in the Capital will be accessible, up from 29 per cent in 2008. All 22,000 of London’s taxis are fitted with wheelchair ramps and TfL will begin a new piece of work to enhance access at taxi ranks.

Notes to editors

•London’s bus fleet is the most accessible 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.

•All 22,000 of London’s taxis are fitted with wheelchair ramps.

•All London River Service piers have step-free access. Newer river boats have dedicated spaces for wheelchair users and accessible toilet facilities.

•TfL’s Draft Business Plan will be considered by the TfL Board at its next meeting on 15 December.

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