London Underground now has an online accessibility service for deaf

13 04 2007

An online interactive information service has been launched by London Underground which lets users find out the accessibility of every Tube station, the routes to/from the platforms and the street, and to/from platform to platform. It will soon be available on Transport for London’s journey planner, at the moment it’s only available at Direct Enquiries.

Guess what? It’s not just for wheelchair users and passengers with mobility issues, so this is REAL progress. This service is also aimed at passengers with hearing impairments. As the access details include lifts, escalators, walking distances, ramps and platform to train gap width, this should help make planning a journey easier. I’ve got a Hearing Dog and I have to pick him up (a hefty 16 kg) whenever I get onto an escalator. There aren’t always lifts or stairs. Picking up a heavy dog and trying to keep my balance on a moving stairway can be daunting, especially when we’re on our way home from a good drinking session. And Smudge does like to wriggle…

It’s interesting that under their services for deaf and hard of hearing people, Direct Enquiries only provide a telephone number for their customer service centre. And I didn’t know deaf people can be blue badge holders….would someone care to explain this one to me? I have seen some station help points fitted with induction loops, these are great for hard of hearing people who can hear on a loop system. I can’t as I don’t have enough hearing – what am I meant to do? Just hope for the best? Tut tut – not good enough!

I don’t think this has been thought through properly. Let’s hope the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee are onto this.

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