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.
- 1 Dave Tilley reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 12:21 07 Sep 2011
Dave Tilley wrote to Transport for London
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?
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- 4 Myf Nixon commented close 13:46 07 Sep 2011
Myf Nixon advised Dave to write to Transport for All.
13:55 07 Sep 2011
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!
Our ref: 1009458031
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.
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
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
Dave Tilley commented
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
Dave H commented
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
Dave H commented
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"
Transport for All commented
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? http://www.transportforall.org.uk/news/mayor-s-transport-strategy-accessibility-implementation-plan
Toby Melville-Brown commented
10:13 12 Oct 2011
My name is Toby, I'm doing a project, aimed at improving Journeys for people with disabilities. I'm supported by Shift.ms, 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 email@example.com
Look forward to hearing from you,
- 14 Myf Nixon commented close 10:50 12 Oct 2011
Philippa Bond commented
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!