After my recent run in with access at Hammersmith and Earls Court Underground stations I thought it worth digging a little. It seems obvious to me that lifts do require maintenance, but if you can mitigate the impact of these outages then you should, especially when this mitigation costs £1500 or less for a ramp. This ramp makes a nearby station accessible now and into the future. This is pretty close to the very definition of “A No Brainer” ™
As a member of the public I wrote to Baroness Grey-Thompson in her role as a transport campaigner, TfL Board member and public face of the recent launch of “Turn up and Go.” I have yet to hear from her, and at this point I don’t expect to.
I also wrote to Zac Goldsmith, my MP. To his credit, in the run up to an election, he was supportive and wrote to TfL for comment. I’m told he has chased them in the 3 weeks since but has yet to get a response. If that’s how responsive TfL are to a Member of the UK Parliament then I hold out little hope for us mere mortals.
My final approach was a personal one. I am fortunate and unusual in that I have some professional contacts with some members of staff across TfL and the Underground. I decided to reach out to some of these to see if they knew why ramps had been withdrawn from Hammersmith after the Olympics. Their answer, that ramps had never been available at Hammersmith, surprised me. I was sure I’d seen them, though I’d never actually used them, but maybe I was wrong, however unusual that might be.
This week my infallibility was restored when I found this transport map posted on a London Overground train which clearly shows accessibility for all lines at Hammersmith. The map may be old, but it proves my point.