Transport CommitteeWritten evidence from Becky Coleman (DAT 82)

I am quite frustrated that as a young wheelchair using graduate wanting to go straight into work this summer as I am holding a job offer I am unable to access tube stations in the City of London. I have sought out housing in London and my best option is West London for station access however I am unable to board the trains as they have no ramps but they are better stations than most as at least I can access the platform! This is the district line at Kew Gardens and Hammersmith all have platform access with no ramps, yet Westminster has ramps on the same line as an Olympics legacy but no suitable housing nearby. Blackfriars is my nearest City of London “semi accessible” station as it has a lift but I am struggling even through my employer to get a ramp put in here despite it also being on the District Line the same line which has a ramp at Westminster. Blackfriars when a ramp is provided would become the only fully accessible city station as others such as Bank I cannot get out the station at from the DLR.

So picking stations that have platform access I thought was reasonable however it is so disappointing that TFL are not providing ramps for me to board the train which cost significantly less than needing lifts etc.

I am unable to fully use buses as these are uncomfortable for my disability and take far too long.

On my placement year I used to spend over 1.5 hours travelling into events in the City of London when I was sent to them as I was unable to access train transport to this area due to the lack of ramps. This was also highly painful for my disability as taxi’s, despite the taxi card, are too expensive when on a low salary and having higher other living costs due to disability. I also lost my dignity on several occasions where I needed to be at places promptly I would have to slide out my wheelchair on the escalator on my bottom and get the public to carry it for me up the escalator due to broken lifts or lack of access and taxis being to expensive when on a student wage. It is shameful that in my Capital City that this is still happening despite the Paralympics legacy.

If do on the rare occasion find an accessible station in London or tube station I have to then compromise on having suitable housing.

Given the government would like people like me to contribute to the economy by working this lack of access proves a real barrier and needs to be addressed urgently.

I hope that you will understand that being told I have to wait five years for a new train to both me and my employer on the District line by TFL to solve my problem is unacceptable as even then platform humps would have to be installed as all the platforms are different heights. All I need is a temporary boarding ramp at Kew Gardens or Hammersmith District Line and Blackfriars ready for when I start working in July to plug the gap until the new train arrives! If you could act on this that would save a lot of stress over housing and make my life and others so much easier.

May 2013

Prepared 13th September 2013