Accessible London transport

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london tube

When it comes to travel in London, it can be pleasurable to take to the streets to find your way around but if you’re in a rush it isn’t the most effective way to get around. Particularly if you’re in the city on business, it’s likely that you will turn to the Tube to get to a meeting or event on time.

However, if you are in a wheelchair, or have a disability that makes it difficult to manage the escalators and steps in the underground stations, it might seem daunting to choose the Tube as your primary mode of travel.

Luckily, there are lots of other ways to get around the city and even the Tube is accessible; the best thing you can do is to make sure you’re prepared and as familiar as possible with all the different routes. They’re all there and as long as you know where you’re going and how you’re getting there, you will be absolutely fine.

We’ve pulled together a list of a couple of ways you can navigate your way around the city easily during your visit.

The Tube

We’ve already touched on this, but the Tube really is one of the fastest and most reliable ways to get around the city. These days, there are 70 stations that have step free access from the street right to the train door and the lines and stations are continuously being improved to be easily reachable for anyone.

Taking the Tube

There are plans for many more to be step free from street to platform, making the underground a perfect choice for wheelchair users or visitors who have mobility issues.

Examples of this step free access are in stations on the Jubilee line east of Westminster, which has level access along the whole platform. The DLR network and any new stations added to the London Overground are now step free.

There are maps to make your trip as easy as possible, including audio maps for the hard of hearing, Tube maps in large print and ones that only show step free stations, including the DLR and Overground. You can find these at any station or they can be downloaded from Transport for London’s (TFL’s) Travel Guides.

The Bus

London Bus

This one may surprise you, but London buses are actually incredibly well-equipped for wheelchair users. There are dedicated spaces on each vehicle that have wheelchair ramps to ensure you can board and disembark the bus easily and safely.

If you have reduced mobility, the buses have the ability to ‘kneel’, which means that they can sink closer to the curb so you don’t have to step up as high from the pavement.

There are also seats designed specifically for people who are elderly, less able or pregnant – they are wider and have more leg room, giving you the space you need to be comfortable.

The wheelchair spaces at the front of the bus also have adequate room to accommodate at least one pram, so if you’re travelling with children you shouldn’t have any problem getting the bus.

To make sure you get all the help you need when you go to the Big Smoke, TfL operates a Mobility Aid Recognition Scheme, which helps travellers who are new to the city and have mobility scooters. If you have one of these or a powered wheel and need assistance navigating the bus network, submit your details to TfL and someone will be in touch to offer you a journey with a mentor who can help you on your first bus journey.

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