Visually impaired passengers at Victoria station

Meeting: 
Plenary on 2011-11-09
Session date: 
November 9, 2011
Reference: 
2011/0136
Question By: 
Valerie Shawcross
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

Question

Following the recent media reports that visually impaired people have been advised to avoid Victoria underground station at even peak times, please explain why this is the case, and why sufficient staff are apparently not available at this key interchange station during busy times to assist visually impaired passengers. Do you agree that this is an entirely unacceptable state of affairs? Has similar advice been given to mobility impaired passengers or people with other kinds of disability?

Answer

Answer for Visually impaired passengers at Victoria station

Answer for Visually impaired passengers at Victoria station

Answered By: 
Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Sir Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)

The media reports were incorrect.

During recent escalator refurbishment works at Victoria Tube station, reduced escalator capacity meant that London Underground (LU) asked all customers to avoid travelling through the station at peak times if possible. This was not related to staffing levels - in fact there were extra staff at the station during the works - but to prevent overcrowding within the station. This also meant that it was not possible to turn off escalators to allow assistance dogs to use them without adding to the crowding.

However, recognising its responsibility to visually impaired customers, LU put in place an arrangement for its staff to organise taxis, paid for by LU, to enable visually impaired persons travelling with assistance dogs to travel to or from the stations adjacent to Victoria such as Pimlico or St James's Park.

The escalator works have now been completed - three months ahead of schedule. Additionally, following a recent change to the byelaws, trained assistance dogs are now able to use moving escalators.