HomeIndustry NewsAmersham becomes London’s 81st step-free Underground station

Amersham becomes London’s 81st step-free Underground station

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  • Lifts installed at a northern terminus on the Metropolitan line allow step-free access from street to train
  • Work continues to improve accessibility across the TfL network and add to the existing 200-plus step-free stations
  • New data available to support step free journeys including accessibility information and live lift disruptions on the TfL Go app

Transport for London (TfL) has today announced that Amersham Underground station has become step-free, helping those with accessibility needs to access the station and the wider transport network, significantly improving their journeys.

The accessibility scheme at Amersham includes two new lifts, a bridge linking the platforms and improved signage giving customers step-free access within the station. Level access between the train platform for Metropolitan line services and a manual boarding ramp will be available to assist customers wishing to access National Rail trains that stop at Amersham.

In an overnight operation, the lift shafts at Amersham were craned into position with the lifts themselves built on site. The new bridge and lifts will vastly improve access within the station and wider transport network for people with mobility needs, heavy luggage or with children in buggies.

The completion of accessibility work at Amersham brings the total number of step-free stations on the Tube to 81. This means 30 per cent of the Tube network is now step-free, with the number of step-free stations across the TfL network totalling more than 200. Work continues on a further six stations which are scheduled to go step-free, at Debden, Harrow-on-the-Hill, Ickenham, Osterley, Sudbury Hill and Wimbledon Park. The final lift shaft was recently craned into position at Sudbury Hill, marking a major milestone in the delivery of these step-free schemes.

The latest government guidance requires everyone to stay at home wherever possible, with TfL services continuing to run for those who need to travel for legally permitted reasons. This includes travel to work where it cannot be undertaken from home, to shop for necessities, seek medical assistance, visit a support bubble or for education.

Heidi Alexander, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “The completion of step-free access works at Amersham Underground station is a great achievement which will make a huge difference to those with mobility needs and the wider public. It marks another milestone in our work to make London’s transport network accessible for all, with yet more stations set to become step-free in the near future.”

Tim Morrison, Director of Renewals and Enhancements at London Underground, said: “Making travel easier for Londoners with accessibility needs is a top priority for us and, after a challenging year, the successful completion of Amersham Underground station’s step-free scheme is really encouraging progress.

“Our step-free programme continues to improve accessibility for all customers and we are working hard to modernise more stations, improving journeys for thousands of people.”

All London Underground stations, including Amersham, operate a Turn-up-and-go service for customers needing assistance on TfL services. Customers using this service do not need to pre-book assistance and can request help on arrival at the station. Staff are trained to offer support and advice to help customers with accessibility needs complete their journeys.

London Underground staff will assist wheelchair users by pushing their wheelchair, if required, and will guide visually impaired customers by the arm. Staff guiding visually impaired customers will wear a single-use disposable sleeve on their arm to give both customers and staff additional protection. Members of staff can also remove their face covering to speak with customers at a 2m social distance.

To support customers with planning their journeys, the TfL Go real-time travel information app makes it easier to plan journeys while on the move. The app uses the latest customer information to provide status updates and the features will continue to be improved in line with customer feedback. It provides real-time train times and information in a mobile-friendly way to enable customers to travel at quieter times outside peak hours – helping them maintain social distancing – as well as alternative routes and walking and cycling options.

The app also supports TfL’s continuing commitment to making journeys for those with accessibility needs as easy as possible. Customers will find accessibility information just a few taps away, with a step-free mode and easy to navigate views of all stations which currently have street-to-platform accessibility. TfL Go is available now on iPhone and on Android.

TfL has also recently made improvements to the data in its free Open Data platform about accessibility information across the TfL network. This includes adding new datasets already built into the TfL Go app, such as the gap and step distances between train and platform, boarding method (manual ramp, level access points), the necessary lifts / entrances for step-free access to platforms and enhanced information about toilets.

For the first time, TfL’s free Open Data API also now includes data to allow developers to show live lift disruption along these step-free routes, which will mean those with accessibility needs will be able to better avoid stations where lifts are temporarily out of action for planned maintenance or repair. This new data has already been incorporated into the iPhone version of the TfL Go app and TfL is working to build it into the Android version of the app as soon as possible.

The continued modernisation of the Tube is a key part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to make London a greener, more accessible city, and 13 Tube stations have been made step-free since 2016.

Photo credit: Transport for London