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Newham’s disabled tweet in a bid to improve Crossrail

Wheelchair user: Jade Sempare, 30, Gerry Raffles Square Wheelchair user: Jade Sempare, 30, Gerry Raffles Square

Thursday, June 5, 2014
11:50 AM

Newham commuters have started an online campaign for a fully accessible Crossrail station at Manor Park.

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Visually Impaired: Ron Candy, 57, Navarre RoadVisually Impaired: Ron Candy, 57, Navarre Road

This comes as transport ministers are asked to consider the feasibility of step-free access at all stops.

Transport for All, a pressure group driving equal rights for vulnerable, elderly and disabled commuters have tweeted pictures of themselves, under #accessibleCrossrail, holding placards stating what step-free access means to them.

Messages include reasons as simple as “being able to use my local station.”

Currently, along the 70-mile route across London there are seven stations that will not have lifts, including Manor Park.

Lianna Etkind, campaign co-ordintaor said: “The campaign started when it emerged this brand new rail line, costing so much public money, could initially open without complete step-free access.

“We were outraged this could be in the same year that everyone was celebrating Paralympic legacy in the borough that the games happened.”

Wheelchair user Jade Sempare, 30, of Gerry Raffles Square added it was important to raise awareness.

She said: “I would love for everyone to be educated, which comes from attending meetings, being open and willing to learn.”

Ron Candy, 57 of Navarre Street is visually impaired and said: “Manor Park station has long corridors for someone in a wheelchair. There should be lifts; I think it is penny pinching.”

He added low visibility of staff could also make disabled commuters feel vulnerable: “It is a ghost station. Once I was approached by a lady posing to be a staff member but she wanted to rob me.”

The organisation aims to show that access to transport means the social inclusion of disabled people, giving them employment prospects, a say in politics, contact with family and friends and access to hospitals.

Lianna explained: “Ensuring that Crossrail is accessible from the day it opens will show that London is a city that takes equality seriously.”

A Department of Transport spokesperson said: “The feasibility studies into the seven Crossrail stations that do not have step-free access have now been completed. The joint sponsors aim to make a summary report available shortly.”

UPDATE: Joint sponsors the Department for Transport and Transport for London published options for seven stations on the route, including Maryland and Manor Park: Read Here.

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