PAYG Area in the South East

This post is a follow-up to one I did two months ago dealing with upcoming expansions to the Oyster Zone, which is Greater London’s pay-as-you-go (PAYG) area for integrated rail transport. Today, the Department for Transport have opened a consultation where they propose an incredible increase in this PAYG area, covering large portions of the Home Counties. Ignoring political boundaries, looking at commuter patterns, and prioritising consistency, this is probably the most sensible report to come out of the DfT in a long time.

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44% Accessible Victoria Line!

No Underground line has seen as many recent changes regarding step-free access as the Victoria line. Only a few years ago when I was first planning on moving to the UK, Vauxhall was about to become step-free. Since then, Victoria station became accessible, and now we celebrate Finsbury Park. With this, the Victoria line has 7 out of 16 stations step-free. With upcoming works at Walthamstow Central and rumours about bringing back a disused entrance at Highbury & Islington, it won’t be long until a majority of the Victoria line is fully accessible.

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Leyton: First Good News of the Year

So far, most recent news regarding step-free access has been dominated by de-scoping, deferments, delays, and quiet cancellations. In the context of this grim situation, brought upon primarily by TfL’s dire financial situation, it was surprising to hear that an additional Underground station would soon be made step-free AND appears to have stable funding. This station is Leyton on the Central line.

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2019 and Beyond

As we reach the end of 2018, it is a good time to take inventory of the state of step-free access projects in London. Unfortunately, this year has been characterised by a series of high-profile delays, ranging from the undefined Crossrail delay to the late introduction of new Overground trains. However, there are many other accessibility schemes in progress, and they each have their own triumphs and failures. And so, this post will be an overview of a variety of projects.

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Delays and Disappointment: Crossrail’s Snowball Effect

I am currently on holiday in Colombia this week, so I was not expecting to do a longer post until I got back to the UK. Unfortunately, these past few days have brought a barrage of extremely negative news regarding future step-free access schemes in London. At the centre of this disaster is the Crossrail project’s never-ending delays and rising costs. As TfL struggles to get the megaproject under control, everything else, including accessibility, is experiencing severe setbacks.

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Oyster Zone Expansion 2019

The Greater London transport network is set to receive a significant upgrade in 2019 with several Oyster Zone expansions that will extend the popular pay-as-you-go (PAYG) zone deeper into the capital’s key commuter towns. In total, it is likely that we will see up to five extensions, reaching Hertford North, Epsom, Welwyn Garden City, Luton Airport Parkway, and Reading.

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London Assembly Transport Committee Report

A few months ago, the London Assembly Transport Committee held a consultation aimed at investigating ways to improve London’s railway network to make it more efficient, more accessible, and fit-for-purpose. Not counting organisations, I was one of 11 members of the public to submit a written response to the consultation, which you can read in my previous post located here. Yesterday, the final report was finally released. While it does contain good recommendations to achieve a network that is reliable, welcoming, and that has metro-like frequencies, I found the report to be lacking in detail and its proposals for accessibility were far below what I expected.

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RAIL Magazine Publication

I am delighted to announce that I am featured in the latest issue of RAIL (Issue 866)! My tiny insert, shown below, is part of a larger article written by railway engineer Gareth Dennis which delves into the risks posed by the platform-train interface (PTI) and the many challenges that prevent an easy solution to issues such as level boarding and accidents.

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Staffing and Assisted Travel Consulation

Continuing with upgrading the official SfL map, I am happy to announce that the map now includes unstaffed stations as well as a three-tiered hierarchy describing the degrees of staffing. Coincidentally, today the Office of Rail and Road has released a consultation regarding assisted travel on the National Rail network. The consultation proposes changes to the assistance process in hopes of simplifying bookings and making information more easily accessible and accurate.

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