Only 13% of night-tube route is accessible, warns disability charity

Europe, August 18 2016

UK: Transport for London (TfL) is set to launch the first phase of the night-tube this weekend, on the Central and Victoria lines. Ahead of the launch, a national charity is warning that with only seven of the 52 stations (13%) on these lines accessible to disabled people, they will continue to be excluded from parts of London, missing out on the benefits of this extended service.

In a recent UK-wide report on transport for persons with disabilities, End of the Line, Muscular Dystrophy UK found that:

  • Common routes on the London Underground take over four times as long for disabled people who are forced to change numerous times to find an accessible station.
  • A journey from Victoria to Kings Cross took 34mins for a disabled person, compared to just nine for a non-disabled person, for example.
  • Only 3 of the Central Line’s 36 night-tube stations are step-free, meaning just 8 percent are fully accessible.
  • On the Victoria Line, four out of 16 stations are step-free, meaning that only 25 percent are accessible.

Muscular Dystrophy UK is concerned that while many Londoners will welcome the 24-hour tube, many people with disabilities will still experience the same frustrating travel from a largely inaccessible network. The charity says that until the network becomes significantly more accessible, disabled people will continue to struggle and fail to benefit from the night-tube.

“While the introduction of a 24-hour tube service could provide people with disabilities with improved social and employment options, the reality is a network still largely inaccessible and awkward for those with disabilities. It’s simply unacceptable that only seven out of 52 stations on these lines are accessible. TfL have clearly recognised the need to modernise their service, but this vision should be extended to ensure accessibility is boosted across the network.” said Robert Meadowcroft, Chief Executive, Muscular Dystrophy UK

“As the night-tube is rolled out, disability charities like ours must be involved in consultation to ensure the needs of disabled people are fully met. We call on TfL to raise the number of step-free stations way beyond its current paltry level, and create an underground system open and accessible to all. Only then can people with disabilities fully enjoy the benefits of a night tube, along with the rest of London.”

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