Disabled commuters face tube journeys four times longer because of no lifts

Lack of access can increase commuting times by eight times Credit: ITV News

For wheelchair users, travelling on the tube can take a lot longer. A new report has found, if you can't use the stairs your journey will take four times as long.

A shortage of step free access to the underground means a journey on the Jubilee line from Baker street to Bond Street takes 33 minutes for people with disabilities - just two minutes for able bodied passengers.

I travelled with Lauren West, who has muscular dystrophy, from Bond Street towards Westminster. I discovered that what is a 5 minute journey for most, is another story for those in wheelchairs.

"The nearest tube station from bond street is green park, so I'm going to have to get there in order to travel to Westminster"

Lauren says it's easier to take the pavement, than the bus. "Buses aren't as reliable. Often the ramps don't work, or there's a buggy in the wheelchair space, or the driver is not being cooperative."

Lauren West uses Green Park station in order to travel to Westminster Credit: ITV News

What should have taken ten minutes, took twenty. Wherever Lauren goes in London there is a shortage of dropped curbs. "It's part of my every day life. But, when you are faced with a time deadline, you've got to get somewhere quickly - and you are faced with a lack of dropped curbs, and that's the reason it takes a long time - then it is really frustrating."

TfL pledge to have more than half of the rail and underground stations accessible by 2018 Credit: PA

London has one of the most accessible transport networks in the world, but we know it can still be difficult for some Londoners to get around. That’s why we’re investing hundreds of millions of pounds in making stations and trains more accessible.

More than half of our Underground and Rail stations will be step-free by 2018 and the Elizabeth line, which includes 40 step-free stations, will open through central London at the same time - transforming access for disabled Londoners.

– Transport for London statement

For some - it's not enough:

I think it's a step in the right direction but it's not necessarily enough to open up the rest of London. For example, at the moment only one in ten stations in zone 1 are accessible, so the West End is a no go zone for most wheelchair users - so we can't socialise with our friends or family.

– Tanvi Vyas, - Muscular Dystrophy Campaign Trailblazers
'Only one in ten stations are accessible', Tanvi Vyas Credit: ITV News

Today, a report full of the transport experiences of hundreds of wheelchair users has been delivered to a cross party group of MPs. It includes disturbing examples of how wheelchair users face conflict from transport staff and other passengers. It's findings will be considered, to establish whether more changes should be made

There's always more than can be done and as we build new infrastructure we need to make sure accessibility is built in from day one, because retro fitting can be really difficult in some of our more historic lines.

– Paul Maynard MP, Conservative and chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary group on Disabled Young People
'Retro fitting can be really difficult in some of our more historic lines', Paul Maynard MP Credit: ITV News

In the end Lauren's journey took 8 times longer than for someone who is able bodied, and it'll be a while yet for wheelchair users before getting to Westminster is possible from any station.

A report full has been delivered to a cross party group of MPs Credit: ITV News