Tube Station Lifts Closed Due to Lack of Trained Staff

Tube Station Lifts Closed Due to Lack of Trained Staff

…By Lola Smith for TDPel Media.

Tube station lifts were closed more than 500 times last year due to a lack of “trained staff” in case of breakdowns.

There was a five-fold increase in lift closures due to safety precautions despite the lifts being in working order.

Disability campaigners described the situation as “unacceptable”.

Wimbledon Park station was the worst affected, with 84 closures for a total of 348 hours.

Other stations also affected included Ickenham, Osterley, West Ham, Harrow & Wealdstone, Southfields, Hillingdon, Canning Town, and Morden.

The figures, which came from a freedom of information request, are separate from lift closures due to engineering breakdowns.

Disability Campaigners Unhappy with Tube Accessibility

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Ninety-two stations are step-free, meaning one third of the London Underground is accessible to wheelchair users, those with mobility issues, and families with prams or pushchairs.

Sadiq Khan said that Transport for London’s goal was to have “no lifts taken out of service due to an absence of trained staff”.

However, last year, 2,115 station closures were due to staff shortages, and last year there were 160 instances of lifts being closed due to a lack of trained staff, rising to 507 last year.

These closures can happen at short notice and cause stress and inconvenience for passengers.

Transport For All, a campaign group, has highlighted the challenges that disabled people face when using London’s public transport network.

The average commute time for wheelchair users is five times longer, and lift closures can leave disabled people “trapped underground”.

The group argues that accessibility is a vital part of public infrastructure and that it is unacceptable that disabled people have to fight for their right to use the Tube.

Improvements to Accessibility in Progress

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Last year, Moorgate, Whitechapel, and Ealing Broadway stations became step-free with the opening of the fully accessible Elizabeth line.

Work is also underway to make Knightsbridge and Paddington stations step-free.

TfL has pledged to spend £60m providing step-free access at Leyton and Colindale stations after securing Government funds.

However, work at Leyton had to be paused due to a lack of cash.

TfL has acknowledged the challenges caused by station and lift closures due to staffing issues but said the situation has improved this year.

TfL tries to minimise lift disruptions by moving staff to cover key locations, and where this is not possible, it provides a taxi service at its cost to help customers reach their destination.

Analysis and Commentary

The closure of Tube station lifts due to a lack of trained staff has highlighted the challenges that disabled people face when using London’s public transport network.

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Despite the significant improvements made to accessibility in recent years, including the opening of fully accessible stations, disabled people still face numerous barriers to using the Tube.

Lift closures can leave disabled people “trapped underground” and cause them to miss work, school, and medical appointments.

Transport For All’s campaign to make public transport more accessible is important, as accessibility is a vital part of public infrastructure.

While it is encouraging to see TfL’s efforts to make more stations step-free, the pausing of work at Leyton due to a lack of funding shows that more needs to be done to ensure that all stations are accessible.

The fact that there were more than 500 lift closures last year due to a lack of trained staff is also concerning, as it shows that more needs to be done to ensure that staff shortages do not impact the accessibility of the Tube.

TfL’s efforts to minimise lift disruptions by moving staff to cover key locations and provide a taxi service at its cost are positive steps, but more needs to be done to ensure that lifts are always

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