Seventy per cent of the capital’s bus stops now fully accessible

1 February 2013  •  Source: Transport for London (TfL)

Transport for London (TfL) has announced that the plan to greatly improve the accessibility of bus stops has reached its first milestone – to make 70 per cent of stops fully accessible – 2 months early.

Bus stop accessibility has improved dramatically over the last few years – rising from 29 per cent in 2008 to the current (70 per cent) level. An injection of £18m additional funding will ensure that at least 95 per cent of bus stops will be accessible by 2016. Making stops accessible means ensuring the kerb is at the correct height, ensuring that the bus can stop parallel to the kerb and removing any street clutter from where the bus doors open.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “We are building on the legacy of the Paralympic Games to ensure that London continues to have the most accessible transport network in the country. The capital already has one of the most accessible bus fleets in the world but there is still more we can do. That is why, as part of my recently launched action plan, I have set a new target of making 95 per cent of bus stops in London accessible by 2016 and will also be investing an additional £50 million to improve bus driver training.”

Leon Daniels, TfL’s Managing Director of Surface Transport, said: “London already has the most accessible bus network in the country – however we are far from complacent and are striving to improve the service we offer to disabled and older passengers. We will continue to work with London boroughs and the City of London to deliver fully accessible bus stops that allow buses to deploy wheelchair ramps.”

TfL has worked closely with its local authority partners to achieve this – as a significant proportion of the capital’s 19,500 bus stops are not on the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN). More than 90 per cent of London residents live within 400 metres of a bus stop, and the vast majority of these can be used by all bus passengers, including wheelchair users.

All 8,500 buses in the TfL fleet (apart from a handful of Routemaster buses operating for tourists on routes 9 and 15) are low floor, wheelchair accessible and fitted with wheelchair ramps that are checked every day before the bus enters passenger service. All buses have the iBus system, which provides passengers with audio and visual next stop information that is of particular use to people with sight or hearing impairments.

A public information campaign was launched last year to outline the ‘rules’ around the use of the wheelchair priority space on buses. The campaign reiterated that the space is the only place in which a wheelchair user can safely travel and that buggy users and other passengers may use the wheelchair space, however if a wheelchair user wants to board, they may need to vacate the space or fold their buggies. Guidance was also provided to bus drivers to help them deal with this issue. A Mobility Aid Recognition Scheme was also launched last year that clarified, for both the user and the driver, whether a mobility aid can safely be used on the bus network.

The £18m funding for bus stop accessibility is part of a wider programme, announced by TfL and the Mayor last year, that will see hundreds of millions of pounds invested in accessibility improvements across the capital’s public transport network – including a further 28 step-free London Underground and London Overground stations over the next 10 years.

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