Tube and rail bosses have been warned against complacency after they hailed better than expected progress in making Tube and rail stations accessible to mobility impaired passengers.
Transport for London had originally aimed to ensure half of its stations would be step-free by 2020, but with 45% already accessible it now looks likely to beat that target by two years.
Gareth Powell, Director of Strategy at London Underground, said: “Making London’s rail network accessible to all customers is one of our key priorities and reaching this 45 per cent milestone shows the progress that has been made.”
Powell said the better than expected progress was partly due to extra funding announced last year by Mayor Boris Johnson.
Liberal Democrats on the London Assembly have welcomed TfL’s progress but caution that “the reality is that in three years’ time half of all TfL rail and Underground will still be permanently inaccessible to disabled people and the many other people who require step free access.”
Caroline Pidgeon, the party’s transport spokesperson, says the Mayor and TfL “also need to tackle the scandal that lifts at London Underground stations are frequently not working simply due to an absence of supervisory staff.”
Figures recently obtained by Ms Pidgeon show the number of lift closures at stations has risen from 51 incidents in 2009 to 126 last year, rendering stations advertised as step-free inaccessible and requiring some passengers to divert to alternative stations mid-journey.
Ms Pidgeon’s figures also show that the number of hours lifts are closed rose by 50% in 12 months, up from 476 in 2013 to 734.