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“Please help me persuade Transport for London to assist disabled people better on the Tube” – Dave Tilley


Dave Tilley

As an occasional visitor to London, I find the assistance given to disabled people on the Underground is often inadequate.

An example is when I come into Kings Cross. The excellent Network Rail staff get me as far as the ticket barriers and then I am left to fend for myself. Likewise, coming back is hit and miss.

A more joined up assistance service would really help.

Problem History

  • 1 Dave Tilley reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 12:21 07 Sep 2011
  • 2 Dave Tilley wrote to Transport for London close 12:21 07 Sep 2011

    Here is the letter that Dave Tilley wrote.

    Assistance for Disabled People

    On four occasions this year I have tried to arrange help to get from a mainline train to one of the Underground platforms. On every occasion I am collected and either assisted or wheeled to the underground barrier and then the helper leaves me as "they are not allowed onto Underground premises". I then have to struggle on crutches or in my chair to a platform. Asked twice for assistance and none forthcoming.

    Likewise when I make the return journey the same happens. No assistance from platform until I get to Kings Cross Helpdesk.

    I enjoyed my occasional trips to London to see friends, but I am seriously considering no longer bothering.

    Why not allow Network Rail staff to escort to the platform, or at least provide help via a help-point?

  • 3 [email address] responded to Dave Tilley close 12:26 07 Sep 2011
    Thank you for your email. We can now confirm that this has been

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  • 4 Myf Nixon commented close 13:46 07 Sep 2011

    This is a very valid point and one which deserves airing - let's hope we get a satisfactory outcome.

  • 5 Myf Nixon advised Dave to write to Transport for All. close 13:55 07 Sep 2011

    Hi Dave,

    I expect you already know about Transport for All, but I mention them in case you don't (and for other visitors to your FixMyTransport page who might find it helpful).

    They work for "a fully accessible, reliable and affordable transport network for disabled and older Londoners". I suggest you drop them a line to see if they can offer any advice about this issue.

    I've drafted an email for you, but you should feel free to edit or overwrite it - or ignore it completely, of course!

    Good luck!

    Myf Nixon

  • 6 [email address] responded to Dave Tilley close 11:36 22 Sep 2011
    Our ref: 1009458031

    Date: 22.09.2011

    Dear Mr Tilley

    Thanks for your email about the difficulties you 've experienced
    in seeking to arrange disabled assistance from National Rail to
    the Tube at King's Cross station. I can imagine how frustrating
    this must have been for you.

    I've noted your comments about National Rail staff informing you
    that "they are not allowed onto Underground premises" and
    therefore you were left on your own to make your way to the
    Tube.  I would advise you to contact National Rail about their
    policy for their staff assisting you to the Tube. However, we
    would expect National Rail staff to make our staff at King's
    Cross aware that you are in need of assistance to the Tube.

    It is not clear who did not give you any assistance on two
    occasions when you requested it. We do expect (and train) all of
    our staff to provide a helpful and professional service to our
    customers at all times. However, as a wheelchair user, our staff
    will assist you if they are able to and if it is safe to do so. 
    We advise customers with impaired mobility and in wheelchairs to
    check before they travel to find out whether their journey is
    possible by calling us on 0845 330 9880. We are open every day
    between 8am and 8pm.

    Also, please use the link below for our online accessible Tube


    We certainly want all customers to be able to use the Tube in a
    comfortable manner. For future reference, should you encounter
    any problems, please contact us providing a detailed account of
    what happened, including location, time, name/s of staff if
    possible in order for us to investigate and take appropriate

    Once again, thanks for contacting us and I do hope that future
    journeys on the Tube will be trouble free.

    Yours sincerely,

    Oslen Small
    Customer Service Advisor
    Customer Service Centre

    If you wish to reply directly to this email, please click on the
    reply button on your toolbar. Please do not alter or delete the
    subject line as this will result in your email not being

    To improve our service we would very much like your feedback and
    we would be grateful if you would complete our brief and
    confidential Customer Satisfaction Survey. To access the survey
    click here.

    If you wish to contact us with a new or unrelated query or look
    at our Frequently Asked Questions, please click here

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  • 7 Myf Nixon commented close 12:08 22 Sep 2011

    Hello Dave,

    I've looked at the Network Rail website, but it says that any issues regarding station staff should be directed to the relevant train operators. I'll gladly forward your message on, if you would like to let me know which operators are the ones in question.

  • 8 Dave Tilley commented close 12:30 22 Sep 2011

    Thanks for the response from Oslen Small.

    However, it just demonstrates to me the lack of joined -up thinking that currently blights transport. in this country,

    While I appreciate the response, I feel a bit frustrated about the comment referring me to "National Rail about their policy". That just smacks to me of "not my fault, guv", and just demonstrates an ultimate lack of care about the people who ultimately invest in the network, the passengers.

    The rail staff could not have been more helpful at Kings Cross, it was the Underground staff /policy / lack of assistance that was the problem, How can Network Rail be to blame when they say they are not allowed onto Underground premises to escort passengers?

    One of the problems with one of my visits was that I was usiing my crutches and not in my wheelchair and had a case and bag to cope with as well.

    I used the accessible Tube map to help me with my journey, and had to adapt my destination because of the lack of a passenger lift at the station I was going to.

    While I appreciate the response, I am afraid it doesn't ultimately answer my problem, nor does it make me feel any better about trying to come to London. I have to travel down in a few weeks' time and am seriously thinking of providing my friends with train tickets to come and visit me in Yorkshire instead. It may be easier.

  • 9 Myf Nixon commented close 13:33 22 Sep 2011

    That is a great shame, Dave.
    If you would like to send these further thoughts to TfL, I think you should do so - you can email them via the button at the top of this page.

  • 10 Dave H commented close 02:23 23 Sep 2011

    In California, cyclists using Caltrain use a Biketrain hashtag which retweets through a bot to send information and requests for same - eg bike spaces available on this train/are there spaces available? It strikes me that twitter and SMS messaging could provide an immediacy lacking in the current system.

    Virgin for example seem to have twitter accounts for each station in addition to the central one. Thus one might enquire from @VTRugby I am arriving on xx.yy train from EUS to LAN in Coach B can you confirm assistance for wheelchair user? I can roll to door.

    Could this be developed further?

    BTW I believe the breaking of the Circle Line has seriously reduced the accessibility of the Tube subsurface lines, and the 'wrong platform' detailat Edgware Road could leave you stuck until a suitable train arrives at your platform

  • 11 Dave H commented close 23:30 23 Sep 2011

    Naughty but I've been temptede to have a tabard to wear over my outer jacket when cycling that reads "Warning May Explode (with rage) On Impact".

    Perhaps for those times you are dumped/ignored a small stiffened flag to unfurl anf fly over your wheel chair or slip into a shoulder 'holster' "If I was a Suspect Package I'd at least get some staff attention"

  • 12 Transport for All commented close 11:31 28 Sep 2011

    Good points well made, Dave. Actually, having 'Accessibility Champions' that can assist people between transport modes was a recommendation that the London Assembly Transport Committee put to the Mayor in their accessibility report last November.

    Why not put these points straight to the Mayor, as he's currently consulting on TfL's Accessibility Plan?

  • 13 Toby Melville-Brown commented close 10:13 12 Oct 2011

    Hello Dave

    My name is Toby, I'm doing a project, aimed at improving Journeys for people with disabilities. I'm supported by, a social networking site for people with MS.

    I read about your frustration on about the lack of assistance form the Tube staff. From my hearing, it seems to be the Tube administration that fails to provide an accessible service and something needs to be done about that!

    I've done a number of interviews already, with people who have issues with mobility in London and am putting a book together compiling these. Perhaps we should join forces and present our case to The Mayor?

    If you'r interested, please contact me on

    Look forward to hearing from you,


  • 14 Myf Nixon commented close 10:50 12 Oct 2011

    Hi Toby,
    Great to see your comment. Please drop us a line via our 'feedback' button at the top of the page if you'd like to be pointed to some of the other accessibility problems we've had reported on FMT.

  • 15 Philippa Bond commented close 22:58 19 Apr 2013

    I have visited the RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind) at Judd Street WC1H 9NE several times recently. To get there I arrive by tube at Kings Cross.

    I have found it difficult to find my way there and I have no visual impairment.

    I don't understand why directions to such an important building are not marked up. Ideally I guess there would be a painted line all the way there but just being able to find where to cross the road would be a start!

  • started 7 September 2011
  • supporters 4
King's Cross St. Pancras Underground Station in King's Cross
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