December 9 2013 Latest news:
Melissa York, Reporter
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Passengers with mobility problems protested outside a future Crossrail station to ensure everyone can benefit from the high-speed train.
On Thursday Aug 15, residents and Transport For All activists stood outside Manor Park station because there are no current plans to build lifts or ramps for the elderly and disabled.
Protestor Christine Kubler, 64, from Manor Park said: “When you get older, your knees and legs get a bit stiff and it just got me thinking, in a few years time, walking up and down those steps will be difficult.
“What with the pension age going up, people will be working for longer and more people will be experiencing mobility problems.
“And I do think that for wheelchair users, it’s much less patronising to have a lift. Otherwise they have to get the ramp out and have everyone looking at them whereas, if you have a lift, they can just travel around like any other person.”
“I am excited about Crossrail but it shouldn’t exclude people.”
Since the protest, Christine has written to both Newham MPs Stephen Timms and Lyn Brown and Mr Timms has written to Transport Minister Stephen Hammond demanding responses to each of her concerns.
Determined Christine also claims installing two lifts at Manor Park would cost Transport for London around £13m.
When asked to confirm this figure, a spokesman for TfL said it was still working out the costings but the estimate was realistic as the lifts at Green Park station cost £48m.
The spokesman for TfL, which co-sponsors the Crossrail project, said 31 out of 38 Crossrail stations are currently step-free or will be after building works have been completed.
They added: “There isn’t funding for that much but we are working with our partners at the Department for Transport to address this.
“We aim for all 38 stations to have step-free access when Crossrail opens but we are currently scoping to look at how much we need in extra funding and how we can get this funding.”
Action will continue on Thursday (Aug 29) when protestors and Paralympic torchbearers travel together from Seven Kings, to Manor Park, to Maryland - all Crossrail stations with no current plans for step-free access - then on to a demonstration outside Crossrail’s offices in Canary Wharf from Stratford.