TfL announces the next Tube stations to be prioritised for step-free access to meet the Mayor’s bold accessibility targets
Transport for London (TfL) has outlined the ten London Underground stations it will be reviewing for potential step-free access, as it progresses plans to further improve public transport accessibility in London.
These ten stations, spread across London, have been identified using an approach focused on the benefits to customers, such as reducing journey times for those needing to use step-free access and reflecting issues that impact the delivery of step-free access such as the feasibility of new lifts, sufficient space for work to be carried out and the depth of each Tube station.
The approach has also been influenced by feedback from accessibility campaigners and TfL's consultation on step-free access, which took place in 2021 and saw 5,500 responses. This feedback highlighted the importance of TfL addressing the gaps in areas that have few step-free stations.
The ten stations considered in this phase of work reflect this, with a spread of stations selected in different parts of London and in different ticketing zones, in order to help better connect customers to many other parts of London.
The Tube stations shortlisted in this next phase of step-free access work in 2023 and 2024 are:
- Arnos Grove
- Burnt Oak*
- Finchley Road
- North Acton
- Rayners Lane
- West Hampstead
- White City
In addition, TfL is working with Government and local boroughs to access the Government's 'Levelling Up Fund' to start work in 2024 to make Colindale and Leyton Tube stations step-free. TfL is also doing further work to identify how best to provide step-free access on the southern section of the Northern line between Elephant and Castle and Morden, where there is currently a significant gap in step-free provision, and TfL aims to update on this work in early 2024.
TfL is also continuing to actively engage local authorities, developers and businesses in other areas of London to explore what options are available to introduce further step-free access to stations. For instance, feasibility work at other stations, such as Boston Manor, East Putney, Hatton Cross, North Ealing, Park Royal, Rickmansworth, Ruislip and Snaresbrook could be progressed should the right amount of investment be provided by these organisations.
The ten stations on TfL's priority list will be assessed to understand the scope of work involved and the best way to deliver step-free upgrades including costs, benefits, funding opportunities and impact on customers. As funding will be a key criteria in delivering a robust step-free access programme, TfL is committed to working with development partners and boroughs to identify investment opportunities. Where possible and applicable, TfL will match investment funding by partners to ensure the programme delivers the best value in the long term and continues to benefit those who rely on an accessible network. Subject to funding being identified and outcome of feasibility studies, this could mean the works to make the first of these stations step-free completing in 2026.
Building on this next phase of work, TfL has plans to review more stations for feasibility in 2024 and 2025 with the support of funding partners and the input of key stakeholder groups.
Since 2016, TfL has worked to reduce additional average journey times for people who need accessible routes by 40 per cent and is well underway to reach the Mayor's accessibility target of 50 per cent by 2041.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "I am committed to ensuring London's world-class public transport network is accessible for all Londoners. While there is still work to be done, I am proud that since I became Mayor we have increased the number of step-free stations across London by 20 per cent, meaning there are now more than 200 on TfL's network.
"I'm delighted to announce the next ten Tube stations TfL will review for potential step-free access, and I am determined to keep working to deliver a public transport network that is accessible to all as we build a better, fairer London for everyone."
Andy Lord, London's Transport Commissioner, said: "More than a third of the Tube network is now step-free, and we have also delivered the step-free Elizabeth line, as well as improvements on the London Overground, but we know that we must do more to make London's transport network truly accessible and inclusive.
"This is why we're working with partners to fund even more step-free access at Tube stations and these stations are a key part of these plans to create a more accessible public transport network that benefits everyone."
Councillor Adam Harrison, Cabinet Member for a sustainable Camden, said: "I am delighted that TfL is prioritising step free access at West Hampstead and Finchley Road stations.
"We worked closely with TfL to ensure the plans for the O2 site could help deliver these community priorities which would transform access in this part of Camden to the Tube network."
Councillor Krupa Sheth, Cabinet Member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate Action for Brent, said: "Step-free access means that more residents can access local health, education, employment and leisure opportunities in the borough and across our great city. This is an important step towards more inclusive spaces and making our transport network accessible to all."
Caroline Stickland, Chief Executive Officer for Transport for All, said: "We are extremely pleased to see more stations being made step-free, bringing us one step closer to an equitable, accessible transport system for all.
"Currently, only 1 in 3 London Underground stations has step-free access. This shuts disabled people out of vast swathes of the network, forcing us to take long and convoluted routes, and even preventing us from travelling entirely. By offering more targeted investment to prioritise areas that will have the widest impact, this policy can make a meaningful difference to the lives of disabled Londoners.
"We also welcome the funding model which draws from local businesses and developments. This finally acknowledges what disabled people already know: accessibility is worth investing in. We are 1 in 5 of the population, and when we can travel freely and easily the whole community benefits from increased footfall, tourism, and prosperity.
"We urge Transport for London and all decision makers to work as fast as possible to introduce station upgrades across the capital, to ensure every station receives the right investment in accessibility and so that every disabled Londoner in every community can finally get from A to B."
Recent work to deliver step-free access improvements on the Tube network include working with third parties to deliver step-free access at Knightsbridge and Paddington** stations. Bank station also recently completed its upgrade work in February 2023, which delivered step-free access on the Northern line and improved step-free access to the DLR as well as a new accessible toilet in the ticket hall.
Five more stations served by London Overground services - Brondesbury, Hackney Downs, Peckham Rye, Queen's Park - will also provide step-free access to the Bakerloo line and Seven Sisters*** Following a successful bid through the Department for Transport's Access for All scheme. Surrey Quays station will be made step-free using funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund and British Land. Once these works are complete 61 per cent of London Overground stations will have step-free access.
In order to improve journeys for all Londoners, TfL is improving communications on disruptions affecting step-free access, to help customers to make better journey planning decisions. For example, work is underway on lifts across the TfL network to enable automatic updates on when lifts are in and out of service. Customers will see this updated on TfL's journey planner, the TfL Go app, third-party navigation apps as well as in stations. In addition, TfL's in-station electronic status update boards have recently been improved.
Notes to editors
*TfL previously carried out design works at Burnt Oak and Northolt stations, and these were paused during the pandemic. TfL will be expanding on this work to evaluate the best way to deliver step-free upgrades at the stations
** Paddington Bakerloo line
***Seven Sisters London Overground only
There are now more than 200 step-free access stations across the TfL network. These include 92 Tube stations, 62 London Overground stations, all DLR stations and all Tram stops
More than a third of the 272 London Underground stations are step-free with 24 new step-free access stations since 2016
All 41 Elizabeth line stations have step-free access, with the majority of central stations being step-free from street to train
TfL has one of the most accessible bus networks in the world. All bus routes are served by low-floor vehicles with an access ramp and dedicated space for wheelchair users. Around 95 per cent of bus stops across London are fully accessible
TfL are working closely with Camden Council to develop plans to deliver accessibility upgrades at West Hampstead and Finchley Road Tube stations and with Brent Council for plans on Alperton station
Full results of the step-free access consultation can be found here
TfL publishes and regularly updates a list of planned works that affect stations, lifts and escalators which can be found here: tfl.gov.uk/status-updates/stations-lifts-and-escalators-works-and-closures
TfL and KeolisAmey Docklands, operator of the DLR, has partnered with GoMedia and The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to trial NaviLens, an app designed to help blind or partially sighted customers navigate stations, locate information and virtually interact with their environment
Last year, TfL trialled a mini ramp at step-free stations on the Jubilee line. It was designed to provide additional support and reassurance for customers to cross a small gap between the platform and train. Following a successful pilot with 63 per cent of respondents saying they would be more likely to travel with the mini ramp, TfL will be introducing it at all Tube stations that are fully step-free by spring 2024 and is looking to introduce it to other parts of the TfL network where possible in the future
TfL will introduce a new comprehensive equality and inclusion plans for customers and staff. The plans will outline actions to address inequality of experience for different communities using the network, to ensure everyone is able to use TfL's services easily, spontaneously and safely, and set out commitments to become a more inclusive employer