TFL is looking to its users for guidance on priorities for accessibility projects through a series of stakeholder meetings in the coming months.
There are currently 62 stations (out of 270) with step-free access. Work to make seven more stations fully accessible was abandoned early in 2010 with significant expenditure wasted and no funds to complete the job. Projects were deferred to reflect budget constraints.
The Accessibility Action Plan will form part of the Mayor's Transport Strategy for the next 20 years. It lays out what projects are planned and already funded in terms of accessibility improvements, including Crossrail, Thameslink and upgrades of key stations like Victoria, Green Park and Bank, before identifying further work that would make the transport network truly equitable. This includes a list of 50 tube stations that would need to be made step-free (p95).
Just this week we got wind of a groundswell campaign to make South Kensington Tube step free. If ever a station deserved prioritising for step-free access, it's surely this one; the gateway to a set of amazing and popular museums that attract families and tourists of all ages in droves, all year round, and which has been the subject of a huge investment project to make it a place that "puts people first". South Ken is amongst the 50 stations on that wishlist but it's all pie in the sky at this stage.
The Accessibility Action Plan is dense and we've only skimmed it but there's lots in there about providing better information about navigating the system as well as the lowdown on projects for buses, streets, signage, door-to-door services etc. So what do TFL want guidance on? Their focus for improvements beyond 2015. Should it be physical accessibility (like step-free projects), better information and maps, staff training, changing passenger attitudes or special services for those who need it ie. door-to-door transport?
Download the plan here. Consultation runs until the end of October.