It was great news to hear the announcement from TFL that they are committed to implementing plans to greatly increase accessibility on all forms of transport in the capital in the coming years. It seems that the work of Trailblazers in campaigning for transport improvements has paid off and played a part in bringing about this announcement. If they deliver in what they say they are going to do it can be viewed as a great success for Trailblazers.
TFL claim that their ambitious improvements will “take accessibility to the next level”. Their aim seems very impressive particularly their hope that the numbers of step free journeys taken will nearly treble from 67 million currently to 189 million in 2021. One of their plans which I think is particularly encouraging is to keep in place Manual Boarding Ramps put in for the 2012 games and to even extend them to more tube stations. Trailblazers has been calling for this and I think it is an important legacy from the Olympics and Paralympics.
Personally I think everything that TFL has announced is positive and if they deliver it will be transformative for the lives of disabled Londoners. However their plans are very ambitious and until we see these changes being implemented I am remaining cautiously optimistic. I have always felt that London has been ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to accessibility. The bus network has been accessible for more than a decade and the overground and train network is catching up. However the underground has always been a severe challenge for disabled people. I have virtually seen it as a no go area given that so few stations have access. If TFL implement their plan I would certainly start using the underground. Relying on taxis is expensive and driving in London is stressful with parking a nightmare. An accessible underground would be a cheaper, more straightforward way of travelling and be a huge benefit to disabled Londoners. All that remains is to watch this space.