Willesden group warns Olympic Games bosses over transport access for disabled residents

12:11 17 July 2012

Navin Shah accompanies wheelchair-user Kate McGuinness on the 297 bus

Navin Shah accompanies wheelchair-user Kate McGuinness on the 297 bus

Jonathan Goldberg 07958 229 037

Brent Transport Action Group has called on TfL to ensure everyone’s needs are being looked after

An action group have warned transport bosses to ensure disabled residents in Brent are not ‘excluded’ from public transport in the run up to the Olympic Games.

Brent Transport Action Group in Willesden Lane, has called on TfL (Transport for London) to ensure everybody’s needs were being looked after.

Brent will play host to gymnastics, football and badminton during the games which start on July 27.

However, according to campaigners, 40 per cent of bus stops and 76 per cent of tube stops in London still remain un useable for disabled travellers.

Lianna Etkind, campaigns coordinator at Transport for All, which hold regular meetings with Brent Transport Action Group, said: “London is a world city, yet the lack of a budget for stepfree access means that disabled people are denied a fundamental freedom: to travel as equal citizens.”

Figures released by the London Assembly also show that one in ten Londoners are excluded from parts of the transport system due to mobility issues.

Navin Shah, London Assembly member for Brent and Harrow also joined the calls.

The Labour politician, who previously took a bus journey with disabled service user and member of the action group, Kate McGuiness, said: “I meet constituents every day who tell me about the problems they have had getting on buses or trains with wheelchairs or buggies.

“Accessible transport should not be an afterthought but an integral element of our transport network.”

However, Mark Evers, director of Games Transport for TfL said they had invested millions of pounds in making the network more accessible.

He said: “We have made improvements such as new lifts, trains, raised platform sections and audio-visual displays.”

He added: “Disabled people intending to travel in London during the Games - and after them - now have improved online resources available to help them plan.

A series of short ‘how to’ films have been created to help disabled people unfamiliar with London’s public transport system.

They are available at tfl.gov.uk/mobility.”

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