LU unveils new boarding ramps for a more accessible Tube

16 May 2014
  • UK's first 'bridge style' ramp design closes the gap between platform and train where traditional ramps could not be used
  • Three stations set to use this new ramp from next month, enabling step-free access from street to train, with more to follow later in the year  

More Tube stations across the network are set to become easier to access for mobility-impaired customers following work by LU to create innovative new 'bridge' style boarding ramps.  

The new ramps have been designed to solve the problem at stations where there is a gap and step down from platform to train.

Traditional ramp designs are unsuitable for use in these situations, so LU has been working hard to develop and trial a unique new design, and gain the necessary approvals from the Department for Transport and Office of Rail Regulation.

The ramps will be introduced at three Jubilee line stations during June - Kilburn, Stanmore and Wembley Park - making journeys at these stations step-free from street to train, and fully accessible to wheelchair users, for the first time.

These will then be introduced at further stations on the network later in the summer, following staff training.

The work is part of a huge range of improvements being delivered by the Mayor and TfL to continue to embed the legacy of accessible travel promised after the 2012 Games.

Many large-scale accessibility improvements are underway including TfL investing £250 million in step-free projects at stations including Bond Street, Greenford, Tottenham Court Road, Vauxhall and Victoria.

More step-free projects are being progressed with third party developers and additional stations are being made partially step-free. London will see at least 25 London Underground and London Overground stations become step-free over the next 10 years - as well as dozens of National Rail stations and accessible Crossrail stations in the heart of the city.

LU's programme of accessibility work uses a mix of permanent level access at new stations, permanent raised platform sections, low-floor trains and boarding ramps.

By 2016 a third of Tube platforms will have level access by one of these means, up from 15 per cent last year.  

Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport said: "We've been determined to create a  ramp which works at those tricky stations where there is a gap and step down from platform to train. This innovative new design is a UK first and will make a real contribution to boosting accessibility - opening up more Tube stations to more people. This is just one of the measures we're carrying out to make getting around London easier for everyone - including more step-free stations, raised platform sections, new low-floor trains with the latest accessibility standards and much more."  

Gareth Powell, London Underground's Director of Strategy & Service Development said: "We've been using ramps to bridge the gap between platform and train since 2012, but disabled customers at some stations have missed out because traditional ramps were not designed for the unique set up at some of our stations, where there is a gap and step down from platform to train. These new ramps will mean new travel options and better, more accessible journeys, for our customers."  

Jeff Harvey from Transport for All said: "I am very happy to hear the new ramps will make Kilburn Station and others accessible to me and other wheelchair users, finally opening up parts of the Underground network for us to use. This will cut some of my journeys down by over an hour, which can make the difference between being able to attend an event, class or job interview, or having to say no. It is encouraging that Transport for All and our members were able to interact with TfL during planning and even participate in testing the new ramps. I hope such involvement continues so that all remaining stations where a gap prevents people boarding the train can benefit from a ramp."

Transport for London has set out how it will make the journeys of millions of disabled and older Londoners even easier.

Measures being put in place include

  • As part of the additional £18 million investment announced last year to make bus stops more accessible, 75 per cent of all stops will be accessible by April this year,  with at least 95 per cent accessible by the end of 2016 - bringing even greater ease of use to a bus network that is already the most accessible in the country
  • The remaining 5 per cent of pedestrian crossings yet to be brought up to accessibility standards will be upgraded with tactile paving and rotating cones or audible alerts as appropriate. A total of 39 sites will be upgraded by March, as we progress towards making 100 per cent accessible by 2016
  • Following the success of the accessibility training at a number of London Underground 'Centre of Excellence' stations, enhanced accessibility training will be introduced at more stations and for staff on London Overground. This is on top of the huge improvements that are being made to bus staff training
  • TfL's new and improved website is now available with a fully redeveloped section on accessibility. Later in the year further improvements will be made so that the Journey Planner tool can plan and suggest journeys based on real time information on the availability of lifts and escalators.

  • London has one of the most accessible transport networks anywhere in the world. Nearly 40 per cent of all stops and stations across London's rail-based public transport network (including National Rail, Tube, DLR and Tramlink) are currently step-free, up from around 30 per cent in 2008. This includes 175 stations on the TfL network, with all DLR and nearly half of London Overground stations step-free
  • All 8,700 London buses are low-floor wheelchair accessible with ramps checked each day to ensure they are working, and more than 90 per cent of London residents live within 400 metres of a bus stop. The vast majority of these can be used by all bus passengers, including wheelchair users
  • TfL also operates Dial-a-Ride - a free door-to-door service for disabled and older passengers who can't use public transport, all DLR stations are step-free and all London taxis are equipped with wheelchair ramps.