Ain’t Gonna Walk The Line

By M@ Last edited 133 months ago
Ain’t Gonna Walk The Line

In 2012, eight out of ten London tourist sites will be inaccessible to people who can’t use stairs. So reckon the Liberal Democrats in the London Assembly. Their Olympic spokesperson, Dee Doocey, told the BBC:

Disabled athletes and visitors to the Games travelling on the Javelin trains from Stratford to St Pancras will not be able to continue their journey into central London to visit the capital's top attractions because most of the Tube stations either have steps or escalators. They won't even be able to use Piccadilly or Oxford Circus.

And, ironically, Trafalgar Square with its limb-limited statues of Nelson and Alison Lapper is also poorly served by stair-free stations.

Until recently, the only wheelchair access to the Circle Line was at Westminster. To paraphrase an old Paul Merton gag: what was the point – where would you go? Luckily, Kings Cross and Monument stations now offer disabled access (though the Monument itself might be a tricky proposition).

London Underground challenges the report, saying that a quarter of all stations will be accessible to all by 2012. Even with the current level of accessibility, it is possible to travel from St Pancras to Greenwich, Earls Court, Westminster, Southwark and many other places (Upminster, anyone?) without encountering stairs. The Lib Dems are also being somewhat disingenuous by implying that the Tube is the only means of getting about town. But of course, there’s still much, much more that could be done to help.

Image taken from Lone Black Rider’s Flickr photostream.

Last Updated 09 May 2007

diamond geezer

I rarely shout at political press releases, but this Lib Dem rant is little more than an opportunistic attempt at headline-grabbing fact-twisting.

It is quite frankly patronising drivel to suggest that accessibility to major tourist attractions should be based solely on facilities at the nearest tube station.

Disabled athletes and visitors to the Games will be able to continue their journey into central London - by bus.

TfL have gone to a lot of effort to ensure that every single bus in the capital is fully accessible. I'm pleased that they have a similar plan for installing lifts at key tube stations, but the upgrade will be both expensive and technologically challenging, and will take a lot longer than Dee's irrelevant 2012 deadline.

The Lib Dems would be better occupied trying to sue the engineers who built our oldest tube stations for failing to follow 21st century accessibility legislation. The rest of us, we can catch a bus.