Disabled ‘frozen out’ of public transport system

TRANSPORT IN Newham fails to provide step-free access for those with mobility problems, a recent report claims.

Only four out of 14 of the borough’s rail stations on London Underground and Overground lines can be used from platform to street level without encountering stairs.

The report by the London Assembly Transport Committee found that West Ham, Stratford, East Ham and Canning Town are the only stations in the borough with ramps and lifts.

Elsa Beckett, a wheelchair user from Windsor Road, Forest Gate, wrote a letter to Transport for London which was included in the report. She explained that a trip to Southend from West Ham station had to be abandoned because of the lack of available ramps.

She said: “A staff member [from Barking Station] would have to travel to West Ham bringing the ramp. Clearly, I would have to inform them of the exact time of my return to be sure the ramp was available at West Ham and had not been returned to Barking. Because of these complications, I abandoned any plans re Southend. The lack of spontaneity in using trains is a great drawback.”

Buses were also criticised because half of them did not meet the required accessibility standards.

In the report, Mark S Grant, who carries a walking stick, complained that a bus driver in Newham only lowered the bus for him when asked and “not before tutting and making me feel embarrassed.”

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London Assembly Member for East London and the City John Biggs said: “It’s simply not good enough that in this day and age, parents with buggies or prams, elderly people and those with disabilities are frozen out of so much of our transport network.

“Boris Johnson needs to get a grip of this and show that he is a Mayor for all Londoners.”