Elizabeth line: Viral video of stranded wheelchair user leads to calls for TfL accessibility review
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Calls have been made for a review into the accessibility of the Elizabeth line after a viral video showed a wheelchair user left stranded at an east London station due to a lack of staff.
Katie Pennick, a campaigner for Transport for All, was unable to board the train at Maryland Station earlier this month because the ticket office was closed and no staff were available to help with the manual boarding ramp.
In a video posted on X, she said: “I’m trying to get the Elizabeth line, the brand new multi-billion pound line, that I can’t use without a manual boarding ramp.
“I’ve got to the station, the ticket office is closed and there’s no staff around.
“There’s no one on the platform, I’ve already checked the other platform, I checked the ticket office, I checked the concourse. I can’t see anyone here so I can’t get on the train.”
Ms Pennick found a help point and pressed the emergency button for assistance.
After a wait, staff appeared to assist but she had to wait 10 minutes for the next train.
The video, which has been viewed by almost three million people, inspired Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon AM to call for a review into accessibility along the Elizabeth Line.
Ms Pidgeon raised the issue with the mayor of London at City Hall last week.
She also highlighted the issue of a lack of tactile paving on some platform edges on the line such as at Hanwell Station.
During her exchange with the mayor, Ms Pidgeon said the Elizabeth Line is “supposed to be the jewel in the crown of TfL’s network and should be the exemplar of a truly accessible transport service, yet passengers are still experiencing problems”.
In July Ms Pidgeon asked the mayor why under current plans there will be no level boarding at the planned £1.7 billion Old Oak Common Station.
Mayor Khan agreed to look at staffing on the line as well as a wider audit into tactile paving at stations.
“I am pleased that the mayor of London has agreed to look into the issue of accessibility on the Elizabeth Line as part of a wider audit,” said Ms Pidgeon.
“TfL has a clear service commitment that all Elizabeth Line stations are staffed from the first to the last train, with a ‘turn up and go’ service offered to anyone needing assistance.
“We must do better when it comes to ensuring public transport is truly accessible for all Londoners.”
A TfL spokesperson said: “We apologise for the experience that Katie Pennick had at Maryland station. MTR Elizabeth line, who employ staff at Maryland station, carried out an investigation into why a staff member was not able to assist her.
“This is extremely rare, and we are committed to providing staff at stations from first to last train, and delivering an excellent customer experience to those who rely on our colleagues to help them to make journeys.
“On this occasion this was not up to our expected standards and we are taking the issue extremely seriously.”