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London Underground Step-Free Projects At Risk Due To Funding Issues

November 18, 2022

    Some step-free projects planned for the Tube could be delayed or cancelled due to a lack of funds, Transport for London (TfL) has said.

    In August TfL was given a sixth bailout deal after its revenues plummeted during the pandemic.

    The body said its current “funding situation” had affected progress with step-free schemes and “external funding will be critical” to carry out more.

    One charity said disabled people were “being hit hardest by funding cuts”.

    Two-thirds of respondents to a recent TfL consultation said they would use the Tube more if the number of step-free stations increased.

    More than 200 stations across the Tube network are step-free, including all 41 Elizabeth line stations and every DLR station.

    Trials of a new “bridging device” at eight Jubilee line stations to help wheelchair users on and off trains have also been launched.

    However, step-free access projects were paused at Burnt Oak, Hanger Lane and Northolt in March 2020 and have not yet been resumed.

    Fazilet Hadi, head of policy at Disability Rights UK, said it was “not acceptable that people with mobility impairments and wheelchair users continue to be denied access” on public transport.

    TfL said its current funding situation meant it was “preparing a new business plan” which would be published before the end of the year, and step-free access would be “considered as part of this process”.

    It added it would “continue to work with third parties and developers to identify funding”.

    Earlier this year TfL agreed a £3.6bn deal with the government to keep the transport network running until 31 March 2024.

    At the time, London’s mayor Sadiq Khan labelled the deal “far from ideal”, but then-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it “more than delivers for Londoners”.

    The Department for Transport has provided more than £6bn of funding to TfL in recent years.

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