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Tube Travel for the Blind and Visually Impaired

By: Jonathan Webb - Updated: 5 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Tube Travel Blind Visually Impaired

Modern rolling stock, refurbished stations and staff training have combined to make travelling by tube easier for passengers with disabilities. Passengers who are blind or visually impaired, to assist you on the tube, the Transport for London customer service centre have produced an audio version of the tube map and a number of stations now have audio announcements at platform level.

When you arrive at the tube station, you can ask a member of staff to help you to the platform. All London Underground front line staff have undergone disability equality training.If you are travelling with a guide dog, staff will help you avoid escalators where possible or temporary stop escalators to allow you and your guide dog to walk. Due to overcrowding, at busy times it may not be possible to stop escalators immediately. If you feel able you may carry your dog on the escalator.

Some deep level tube stations have lifts from street to platform level. These may be of the double door variety, where passengers enter through one set of doors and exit through the other set of doors at the opposite end. Many lifts at tube stations are automatic and give an audible tone when the doors are open.

At stations,tactile warning surfaces are being installed on all stair cases and platforms.In addition, priority seats are being provided on platforms.

On The Train

Once on the platform a member of staff will assist you in boarding the train and help you find a seat. Priority seats are situated around the door areas and are recognisable by a notice above the seating area. Once on the train a member of staff will call ahead to station staff at your destination or staff at an interchange station and arrange for a member of station staff to meet you upon arrival and assist you.

Tube passengers are expected to leave seats free in the priority area or vacate them if a disabled passenger boards the train.All trains,apart from the Metropolitan and some District line line trains, have automatic voice announcements.These announce the current and next stations along with the destination of the train.

Many London Underground stations have involve a step of up to 12 inches(300mm) onto the train. There may also be a gap between the train and the platform edge. It is recommended that you confirm that you will be able to manage this before you travel. Some stations,such as London Bridge, Wembley Park and on the Waterloo and City line, have installed humps to make access easier. On the Jubilee line and Central line there has been changes made to the height of the track.

Tactile London Underground Station Maps

London Underground has commissioned the Royal National Institute for the Blind to produce tactile maps of selected tube stations.These include Old Street, Westminster and Earls Court. In addition, there are also large print versions available for passengers with limited vision.The tactile maps are available, free of charge, from London Underground's customer service centre. Books of tactile and large print station maps can be borrowed from the RNIB's Braille library

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