Decision Maker Response

Sadiq Khan’s response

Mar 26, 2019 — Dear Petitioner

Thank you for the petition submitted on the website about accessibility on the Elizabeth line.

We appreciate the time you have taken to launch this petition. We want to assure you that making transport accessible for all is paramount in what we do. Over the past few years we have made vast improvements to our transport network making it more inclusive for everyone – so all our customers can travel around London with ease.

When fully open, all 41 stations on the Elizabeth line will be step-free from street to platform. All of the ten new central London stations – Paddington to Abbey Wood – as well as the three stations serving Heathrow will also have level access from platform to trains. Passengers who need assistance will benefit from the same turn-up-and-go service currently provided on the Tube, London Overground and TfL Rail with the assurance that all stations will be staffed from first to last train.

But to address your specific concerns raised in the petition we would like to detail some of the complexities involved with step-free access from platform to train for the whole of the Elizabeth line.

Parts of the Elizabeth line will run on dedicated lines that have been newly built, but for the majority of its service length our trains will share the existing Network Rail tracks, to Shenfield in the east and Reading in the west. Where our trains are the only ones that operate (or at Heathrow where there are very limited types of trains) it is possible to achieve level access between the platform and trains. Where our trains run on existing Network Rail tracks sharing the same lines as other services, including freight trains, it is generally not feasible to provide level boarding. Put simply, if the platforms (which actually vary in height from station to station and platform to platform for historical reasons) were rebuilt to be close enough to allow level boarding for our trains, they would be too close to the tracks to let some other trains pass safely. To alleviate this, TfL has station staff on hand, from first to last services at all Elizabeth line stations, to deploy boarding ramps between the platform and train.

The same issues affect raised platforms (or platform humps), which are often suggested as solutions. These would have to provide clearance for freight trains using Network Rail’s tracks and would cause further issues where different passenger trains have doors that are in different locations. TfL recognises the huge importance of this issue and has meetings with Network Rail and train operating companies at which they will continue to discuss further accessibility improvements that could be made.

Regarding the ULEZ, everyone needs to play their part in helping to clean up London’s polluted air. I have listened to the feedback through the ULEZ consultation and have decided to give drivers of disabled tax class vehicles and specially adapted Private Hire Vehicles until October 2025 to replace their vehicles. This provides an extra six and a half years from the start of the central London ULEZ or four years from the start of the expanded ULEZ to comply. The availability of this grace period reflects the greater cost in converting or replacing a specially-adapted vehicle, for example using the Motability scheme. It is important to note that disabled tax class vehicles are different to blue badge holders. A disabled tax class vehicle is normally one which has been specially adapted in some way; blue badge holders may use their status on any vehicle, providing more options.

Yours sincerely

Public Liaison Unit
Greater London Authority