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Torch relay shines a light on Crossrail failings
12:00pm Thursday 29th August 2013 in News
Wheelchair users are staging an ‘Olympic torch relay’ on public transport today to raise awareness of a campaign aimed at making Crossrail more accessible.
One year on from the Paralympics, campaigners took part in the ‘legacy torch relay’ on the route of the new line connecting east and west London.
One torchbearer is representing each of the seven stations that will not be accessible to disabled people.
These are Seven Kings in Redbridge, Manor Park and Maryland in Newham, Hanwell in Ealing, and Iver, Langley and Taplow in West London.
The relay culminated in the torchbearers and other campaigners gathering at Canary Wharf to demonstrate outside the Crossrail offices at 11.30am.
Flash Bristow, 37, of Davies Lane in Leytonstone, is carried the torch on the 308 bus from Blake Hall Road in Leytonstone to Maryland.
Mrs Bristow will not be able to access the Crossrail line at her nearest station, Maryland, as it does not have step free access.
She said: “I have a lot of disabled friends and we like to travel together.
“We can only really do that by rail so I was really excited to know that Crossrail was going to be on my doorstep.
“It would be a great way for me to get in to central London and visit my parents.
“Now I feel insulted, excluded and disappointed.”
Transport for All, a charity advising disabled people on accessible transport in London, estimates it would cost 0.2% of the whole Crossrail budget to make the route fully accessible.
A spokesman for Transport for All said: “We believe that it is no longer acceptable for disabled and older people to be locked out of their local station.
“Inaccessible transport is excluding disabled people from participating fully in public life.”
Mike Brown MVO, Managing Director of London Rail, said: “Transport for London and the Department for Transport, the joint Sponsors of the Crossrail Project, aim to make the whole Crossrail route accessible.
"There is already provision for 31 of the 38 stations to have step free access and work is underway to look at practical solutions and funding options for the remaining seven.”
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