Transport for London Update, Delivered by – Vernon Everitt Managing Director, Customers, Communication & Technology
“Ahead of a further relaxation of Government restrictions, which will see more businesses and venues reopen on 4 July, we want to remind you about what to expect if you are travelling for the first time in a while.
We have put measures in place to enable safe journeys for everyone and your travel experiences may differ from before the pandemic.
Enhanced cleaning regime: We are using hospital-grade anti-viral cleaning products in all public areas across the network.
Key interchanges are being cleaned throughout the day and there is an enhanced regime across our entire fleet of Tubes, trains, trams and buses to ensure surfaces, such as poles, handles and doors that are regularly touched, are clean.
The police and TfL’s enforcement officers are deployed across the network to encourage compliance and if necessary they will refuse entry, ask people to leave, issue fines or prosecute. Thank you to the overwhelming majority who are complying with this requirement.
You should continue to work from home if you can. Also if you can, please try walking or cycling part of your journeys or getting off a stop or two early to help make space for those who have no alternative way to travel.
We’re working closely with London boroughs and the City of London Corporation, changing town centres, building new cycleways and creating low traffic neighbourhoods across London. Some streets are being converted to walking and cycling only, with others restricted to all traffic apart from buses. This will also create more space for social distancing and help reduce road danger. In addition, more Santander Cycles will also be available at key areas.
In line with the Government advice, everyone who can work from home should continue to do so and we would still ask you to continue to avoid public transport, where possible.
We thank you again for all your help as we work together to keep everyone safe.
Face Coverings to Become Mandatory on Public Transport
From 15 June, face coverings will be required while using public transport in England.
government asks transport operators in England to make wearing face coverings a requirement of using public transport from 15 June to coincide with the next stage of carefully easing restrictions
bus, coach, train, tram, ferry and aircraft passengers must wear a face covering on their journey to help reduce the risk of transmission when social distancing is not always possible – with government also working with operators to ensure staff are provided with face coverings where appropriate
guidance remains to work from home if you can and avoid public transport where possible
The government will work with operators to make it mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings when using public transport in England, the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced today (4 June 2020).
Wherever possible people should continue to avoid public transport and walk, cycle or drive, but for some people this may not be an option. Transport usage has been slowly increasing, including on the tube which has seen around a 20% rise this week compared to last week.
When necessary to use public transport people may be more likely to be in enclosed spaces for longer periods of time where we know there is a greater risk of the spread of the virus and social distancing is likely to be difficult to follow consistently. This differs from enclosed spaces like shops, for example, where people can more easily go outside if social distancing is not possible and where shop owners can place limits on the number of customers allowed inside at any one time. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has set out that using face coverings in this setting can provide some small additional protection to fellow passengers and can help people to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus if they are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.
The changes will be made under legislation such as the National Rail Conditions of Travel and Public Service Vehicle Regulations for buses. While the government expects the vast majority of people to comply with the changes, operators will be able to refuse travel or issue penalty fines for those who fail to wear a face covering, in a similar way to the rules on having a ticket for travel. British Transport Police will also support the implementation of these changes.
Social distancing and hand washing remain by far the most important disease prevention measures but it is also vital all passengers travelling on buses, coaches, trains, trams, ferries and aircraft should wear a face covering and the government will also work with operators to ensure staff are provided with, and wear face coverings, where appropriate for their role.
People should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser before putting their face covering on and after taking it off and it is important that people don’t touch their face covering when wearing it, where possible, to avoid hand to mask transmission of the virus.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:
People should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. But, as restrictions are carefully eased when it is safe to do so, it’s likely that we will see more people needing to use public transport.
So, while respecting social distancing and maintaining good hand hygiene remain the most important steps we can all take to stay safe, wearing a face covering can play a role in helping us to protect each other.
This is about the small changes we can take to help control the virus, which is why I urge everyone using transport to wear a face covering, to help keep us all safer.
Face coverings are not the same as face masks. It is important that people do not use medical grade PPE masks to ensure these remain available for frontline staff. Last month, the government set out advice for people on how to make their own face coverings easily at home, using scarves or other textile items. These face coverings should cover the mouth and nose while allowing the wearer to breathe comfortably and can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head to give a snug fit.
Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said:
Wearing face coverings on trains will help to ensure that those who need to travel by rail can do so with confidence. Greater use of face coverings will boost the other measures we are putting in place to keep people safe, like more thorough cleaning, improved information on potential crowding and one-way systems at busier stations.
To ease pressure on public transport, the government has announced measures to encourage people to choose other forms of transport, including £2 billion for cycling, and the acceleration of e-scooter trials across the country. To capitalise on the increase in cycling uptake in recent months, the government is also working hard on measures to get more people commuting by bike with initiatives such as the Cycle to Work scheme to help with the cost of bikes, including e-bikes.
Transport for London Update delivered by – Vernon Everitt Managing Director, Customers, Communication & Technology
“We have a plan to help London re-open carefully, safely and sustainably.
This follows the advice and messages published by the Government yesterday.
In line with Government plans to increase national rail services, we are working hard to return Tube and bus services to normal levels under extraordinarily difficult circumstances, with many staff ill, shielding or self-isolating.
By next week, over 70 per cent of Tube services (in line with national rail services) and 85 per cent of bus services will be running.
However, given the national requirement to maintain 2 metres distance between passengers wherever possible, the capacity on the Tube and buses will be reduced to around 13-15 per cent, even once services are back to full strength.
This means transport must operate very differently.
In line with new Government advice, everyone who can work from home should continue to do so. Public transport should be avoided wherever possible to free up the limited space available to those who have no alternative way to travel.
If you must travel, please plan ahead and travel outside of the busiest times, particularly first thing in the morning. Please try to take the most direct route and avoid busy interchanges. To help you plan your journey we will be publishing details of the busiest stations and lines in the next few days and will write to you again with that information.
If you can, please walk or cycle for all or part of your journey, including to complete your journey if travelling into central London. We have been introducing local improvements in partnership with boroughs to widen footpaths and provide more cycle lanes. You can find out more here.
This is also to help support you in making the most of your local shops and outdoor spaces.
We are taking measures across our network to enable social distancing of 2 metres where possible. Please wear a face covering. Do not travel if you have any symptoms of the virus.
You may be asked to wait to enter a station. Some stations will have one-way systems, or you may be asked to walk on the left. We are also asking people to maintain social distancing throughout stations, for example on stairs, escalators and in lifts.
If travelling by bus, please maintain social distancing at stops and bus stations wherever possible. Currently you will also need to board the bus using the middle doors and you do not need to tap in. When in the bus please use all available space, including the upper deck, if possible, to maintain social distancing.
We are doing everything we can to maintain the cleanliness of our network with regular cleaning using hospital grade antiviral disinfectant.
It is also important that you continue to follow the Government advice on hygiene. Please wash your hands before and after travel and carry hand sanitiser with you. We are also putting hand sanitiser dispensers in our stations in the coming weeks.
Please be considerate to our staff and follow their instructions. Everyone is doing their best in these difficult times.
Thank you for your help.
I will write to you again with further information in the coming days.
Vernon Everitt Managing Director, Customers, Communication & Technology”
Transport for London produce a range of guides in alternative formats to help you plan and make journeys. All of the guides can be obtained free of charge by completing the order form.
Wheelchair Access & Avoiding Stairs
Step-free access means lifts, ramps and level surfaces so you don’t have to use stairs or escalators, and can avoid the step and gap onto our trains, buses and boats.
London Underground are introducing more and more step-free access, but it’s important to plan your step-free route in advance and check before you travel in case of disruptions.
Watch these completely step-free journeys on our network, including Tube, bus and river services, to popular venues across London.
Step-free stations and vehicles
All our bus routes are served by low-floor vehicles, with a dedicated space for one wheelchair user and an access ramp. Buses can also be lowered to reduce the step-up from the pavement.
Around a quarter of Tube stations, half of Overground stations, most piers, all tram stops, the Emirates Air Line and all DLR stations have step-free access.
Many boats have boarding ramps to give step-free access.
All taxis (black cabs) have a wheelchair ramp and some private hire vehicles (minicabs) have step free access.
Lifts out of service
If you arrive at a Tube, TfL Rail or Overground station and the lift is unavailable, staff will help you to plan an alternative journey to your destination. If there isn’t a reasonable alternative route, we’ll book you a taxi (at our cost) to take you to your destination or another step-free station from where you can continue your journey.
Maps and guides
Some step-free stations still have a gap and step between the platform and the train. The Tube map shows which Underground, Overground and DLR stations are step-free. The blue symbol shows step-free access from street to train and the white symbol shows step-free access from street to platform.
We also produce detailed maps for step-free journeys and avoiding stairs.
We know some customers find being underground difficult, so we have a map which shows where the tunnels are across our network.
An increasing number of our platforms give step-free access onto trains.
This is provided in three ways:
Level access along the whole platform This is available on newly built services such as the Jubilee line east of Westminster, the whole DLR network and new stations on London Overground.
Level access along part of the platform (platform humps) We are increasingly using these at stations. Look out for the signs for these on platforms and for information about where to find them in Journey Planner.
Manual boarding ramps At some stations staff will deploy manual boarding ramps to help you get on and off. This service is available at many Overground, TfL Rail and Tube stations. To use manual boarding ramps, ask for help from staff.
There are some steps that station staff will follow to deploy ramps:
A member of staff will place a ramp to help you get from the platform into the train
If a ramp is needed at your interchange or alighting station, they will contact the station to make sure a member of staff is waiting to meet you to help you get off the train
If you need step-free access onto the train, select ‘accessibility and other travel options’ in Journey Planner, and select ‘I need step-free access from street to the train’.
If you prefer to plan your own route, use Tube map for an overview of step-free access and the Step-Free Tube Guide for detail, including which stations have ramps.
You can use wheelchairs and some mobility scooters on many services, including buses, Tubes, trains and trams and some boats including Thames Clippers.
Mobility scooters can’t be taken on some boats, taxis or the Emirates Air Line.
On almost all buses, the wheelchair ramp is located at the exit door (in the middle of the bus).
Mobility Aid Recognition scheme
Our Mobility Aid Recognition scheme helps anybody with a mobility aid who wishes to use our buses.
Only certain models of mobility scooter can fit on London’s buses, so you should check first.
Although the scheme is aimed at people with mobility scooters, it may also be used by people with manual or powered wheelchairs, mobility walkers, buggies adapted for disabled children, or shopping trolleys, where these are used as a mobility aid.
To join the scheme, contact our travel mentoring service who will ask you a few questions to check that your mobility aid is suited to bus travel.
You will then be offered the opportunity of an accompanied journey to check the suitability and size of your device.
If your mobility aid is suited to bus travel, you will be given a Mobility Aid Recognition scheme card which you can show to bus drivers.
Thames Clippers offer a similar scheme on the river.
Campaign for Level Boarding: Building a Safe, Efficient, and Modern Railway
The Campaign for Level Boarding was established in late 2019 to address what was seen as a lack of ambition among the rail industry to achieve widespread level boarding across the UK rail network.
The Campaign for Level Boarding is an unofficial network of disabled rail users, railway engineers and other industry professionals, seeking to use their combined experience and knowledge to revolutionise rail travel and improve safety for everyone.
The key asks of the campaign are to:
Establish a procurement standard for all new trains to be “low-floor”, with extendable gap fillers, to match the platform height
Begin a rolling programme of platform improvements to bring all platforms up to the existing UK standard (915mm height, 730mm offset)
Agree a target of 2040 to achieve level boarding across the UK rail network.
DMD Pathfinders provides the secretariat for the campaign. The campaign has no funding from or affiliation with any other organisations, being run by volunteers.
A rolling programme of platform improvements to bring all platforms up to the UK standard (915mm height, 730mm offset).
“Low-Floor” Rolling Stock
A procurement standard for all new trains to be low-floor, with retractable steps, to match the platform height.
Benefits of Level Boarding
Safety at the platform edge: Level boarding reduces the chance of trips and falls, the biggest safety and fatality risk on our railways today.
Independent travel for disabled people: Wheelchair users can use the trains like everyone else without assistance. No more failed assistance requests or delays.
Quick and easy boarding for everyone: Everyone, including older people, people with reduced mobility, and passengers with luggage, bikes, and pushchairs, benefits from level access to the trains.
Accommodates all UK rail traffic: Using existing standards for platform heights means that all existing UK rail traffic, including freight, can continue to use the network while new trains are rolled out.
No more dangerous ramps: Most trains have floors at least 180mm higher than the standard platform, requiring manual boarding ramps. Coupled with non-standard platforms, ramped access can sometimes be dangerously steep.
Get involved – Sign up to the mailing list or get in touch with us.
FAQs – Find out more information about level boarding.
Case studies– See how level boarding is progressing around the world.
Currently only 78 out of 270 Tube stations have some degree of step-free access. Manual boarding ramps at certain stations and interchanges provide additional step free access (see below). Some improvements are planned for the next five years but there’s still a long way to go before the Underground system is fully accessible, so we have to keep up the pressure. Transport for All is campaigning for improvements in this situation with the help of its members (click here if you’d like to find out how to become a member for free).
Out of the 70 step-free stations, only around half are step-free from the platform on to the train. The step-free access may be from a raised platform section, level with the floor of the train, or via a manual boarding ramp – see below for a list of Tube stations with manual boarding ramps. On the TfL Tube Map, stations marked with a white wheelchair symbol are step-free to platform, but may have a gap or step to the train. Stations marked with a blue wheelchair symbol are step-free from street right onto the train.
TfL have also released a new Tube map showing routes you can take to avoid areas with large stretches of tunnels. It’s particularly useful for people with claustrophobia or anxiety: click here to download it.
Here are two lists of step-free Tube stations, with the blue and white wheelchair symbols. The first list shows stations grouped by Tube line, the second list shows stations in alphabetical order. Some stations are step-free only on certain lines, for example at Paddington Station there is step-free access to the Circle and Metropolitan lines, but not to the Bakerloo line.
We believe the key to accessible tube travel is to plan ahead. Transport for London produce a good range of accessible maps in various formats.
Many ‘accessible’ stations have a step onto the train which may be as high as 300mm (12 inches). You should check whether you can manage this before you travel. You may find the station has manual boarding ramps to bridge the gap (see below for the list of stations with manual boarding ramps).
Download the Step-free Tube guide which shows the height and width of the steps and gaps at accessible stations. The map also shows the stations (like Stockwell and Mile End) where although the station is not step-free to street, passengers can change between lines with no steps. You’ll also notice that a number of stations (including Liverpool Street, Euston Square and Borough) are step-free in one direction but not the other! TfL also produce an Avoiding Stairs Tube guide.
Take care when you’re travelling from a station with a platform which is level with the train floor along its whole length. If you plan to get off the train at a station with a short raised platform area, you must be sure to get in the right carriage at the start of your journey. There are normally blue stickers on the outside of the train telling you which carriage to board in order to get off at the right spot at your destination.
A number of stations have audible descriptions available from Describe Online. An Audio version of the tube map can be obtained from TfL’s Customer Service Centre – Tel: 0343 222 1234.
We can help you plan your journey. Contact us on 020 7737 2339 for detailed information about the size of the gaps between the platform and the train or for the number of steps at a station.
You can plan an accessible journey yourself online using TfL’s journey planner tool, which can be found on TfL’s website. Select your start and finish locations and then click advanced options. This will let you select the modes of transport you prefer to use, or enter access requirements.
All trains have priority seating, clearly marked next to the doors. These are for disabled people, pregnant women, older people and those travelling with children. Customers are expected to vacate these seats if they see someone who requires a seat. If no one offers, feel free to ask.
District, Circle, Jubilee, Victoria and Northern lines have multi-purpose areas suitable for wheelchairs, luggage and pushchairs.
All trains should have automatic voice announcements. These announce the next and current stations and the destination of the train. Service disruption will be broadcast by the driver using the public address system.
If a lift is broken when you arrive at a step-free station, ask a member of staff to help you re-plan your journey. If there is a single accessible bus journey to the next step-free station, or your destination, then this is the route you will be advised to take. If there is not, London Underground is obliged to order you a taxi at their expense, to your destination or another step-free station from where you can continue your journey. This also applies when the line is closed and the rail replacement bus service is not accessible or does not stop at an alternative accessible station.
Mobility scooters are permitted on the Underground.
Many Underground stations have Help points on the platforms. In an emergency you can contact the station control room, or failing that, the police. Many of them also have buttons to press for passenger information, and induction loops.
Almost all Underground Stations with car parks have some accessible spaces, free to use for Blue Badge holders. Check before you travel by calling us: 020 7737 2339.
The District, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Metropolitan and new Circle and Hammersmith and City line trains have visual information displays inside the train. These show the next and current stations and the destination of the train.
You will need a Radar key to unlock accessible toilets at Underground stations. The keys cost £4. Call Disability Rights UK on 020 7250 8191 or order online. You can maybe find it on Amazon at a cheaper price. Not all Underground stations have accessible toilets and those that do may have them outside the ticket barriers.