- London 2012 Games set to be the most accessible ever held
- Disabled passengers urged to book rail travel, park and ride and Blue Badge parking at venues in advance
- Spectators planning to travel in groups also urged to plan travel in advance
- All spectators can plan accessible and group journeys using London 2012 Spectator Journey Planner at www.travel.london2012.com
Spectators planning to travel to the London 2012 Games in groups were also urged to ensure they have planned their journeys.
London 2012 is set to be the most accessible Games ever held, with the transport network carrying more disabled passengers to more events at more locations than at on any previous occasion. During the Games, London will be turned into a massive sporting and cultural venue and, as a result, venues and transport networks in the capital and across the UK will be very busy.
All spectators need to plan ahead and disabled passengers, especially those using wheelchairs or mobility aids, are being offered the following additional advice:
Plan your journey: The London 2012 Spectator Journey Planner includes accessible travel options across the UK and spectators are urged to plan ahead at www.travel.london2012.com
Travelling in London: For those spectators planning to travel around London as part of their Games experience, TfL’s Journey Planner has been upgraded to make it easier to plan accessible, including step-free journeys, online at www.tfl.gov.uk/journeyplanner TfL has also made a series of ‘How to’ films for disabled passengers unfamiliar with London’s public transport system, which are available now at www.tfl.gov.uk/mobility
Book travel on National Rail services in advance: For assistance such as help getting on or off a train, it is important to book in advance. This enables the relevant train operator to check the accessibility of the stations you will be using and help you plan the journey best suited to your needs. It also gives time to relocate staff to assist you. To book assistance and your 2012 Games Train Tickets contact the National Rail Games Travel contact centre on 0844 693 2899* or from overseas +44 1902 627973. If accessible travel is not booked in advance, it is possible you will not be able to board a train at the time you wish and could risk missing your Games event.
Accessible shuttle services: will be provided at many venues to transport spectators from the nearest recommended accessible station to the venue itself. These services are available for disabled spectators and do not need to be pre-booked.
Taxi and private hire: Pick-up and drop-off locations are also available at all venues.
Blue Badge parking: Spaces are available at venues for spectators who hold a valid Blue Badge or recognised national disability permit. At some venues, spaces will be booked by session and you must ensure you return to your car by the specified departure time. Spaces are limited, so should be booked ahead at: www.firstgroupgamestravel.com/accessible-modes-of-transport/ or call 0844 921 2012. Those heading to events should be advised that the road network around venues will be extremely busy and alternatives to car travel should be used where possible.
Travelling as a group: Taking a large group to the Games requires careful planning – think about how you are going to get to your venue, even if you regularly travel as a group on London’s transport network. Use the spectator journey planner at www.travel.london2012.com to help you and check out the 2012 Groups page on the London 2012 website – http://www.london2012.com/spectators/travel/group-travel. A range of coach, park-and-ride and parking options are available for people with accessibility needs, but these must be booked in advance – call 0844 921 2012 or find out more online at www.firstgroupgamestravel.com/accessible-modes-of-transport/
Coach travel: A network of coaches, with wheelchair spaces, will be in place from towns and cities across England and Wales operating day return services direct to the Olympic Park, ExCeL, Weymouth and Portland and Greenwich Park for the cross-country phase of the Equestrian Eventing. Taking a coach can take the stress out of travelling, especially if your journey would otherwise require you to make changes across London, where the transport system will be busier than usual. These must be booked ahead at: www.firstgroupgamestravel.com/accessible-modes-of-transport/
River: In London, you may also want to consider travelling by river. A number of London 2012 venues are accessible by river, including Greenwich Park, North Greenwich Arena, The Royal Artillery Barracks, Horse Guards Parade and Eton Dorney. River services offer a great way to get to your venue, avoid traffic and see some of the best sights London has to offer along the way. Pre-book if you have access needs at www.thamesclippers.com or www.citycruises.com.
Park-and-ride/walk: These services have been established by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), serving the following venues:
- Olympic Park
- Weymouth and Portland
- Lee Valley White Water Centre
- Hadleigh Farm
- Eton Dorney
- Greenwich Park (for cross-country day)
- Football venues at City of Coventry, Hampden Park, Old Trafford and St James' Park
Accessible parking spaces are available at most of these, with spacious accessible parking spaces situated close to the shuttle bus stop and assistance is available on site if required. Shuttle buses will feature spaces for a minimum of one standard sized wheelchair per bus. Specially adapted vehicles capable of carrying more than one wheelchair user and larger wheelchairs may also be available. For more information, visit: www.firstgroupgamestravel.com/accessible-modes-of-transport/
Hugh Sumner, the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Director of Transport, said: 'A huge amount of planning has gone into making London 2012 the most accessible Games possible, so people can travel safely and with confidence. Our accessible transport strategy has been shared with numerous transport experts and disability user groups to ensure it is fit for purpose. Accessibility improvements have been integrated into the £6.5billion that has been spent on the transport network ahead of the Games.'
Richard George, LOCOG’s Director of Transport, said: 'We are delighted with the work our partners have done to deliver on our promise to make London 2012 the most accessible games ever. We look forward to welcoming everyone to an amazing summer of sport.'
Peter Hendy, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: 'The London 2012 Games will be the most accessible ever held and we’ve invested to improve accessibility across London’s transport network. Our staff and Travel Ambassadors will be on hand to assist people travelling to events and around London, but it is vital that all spectators – particularly those with accessible transport needs – plan their journeys and, if necessary, book their travel in advance.'
David Sindall, head of disability and inclusion at the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), said: 'Assistance and support for disabled people travelling by train is now better than it has ever been thanks to millions of pounds that have been invested in recent years.
Train companies have introduced a booking system that is quicker, simpler and easier to use and allows passengers to plan ahead and book the assistance they need in advance over the phone or internet.'
Robin Gisby, managing director Network Rail operations, said: 'The Olympic Games will give a huge number of people the opportunity to experience the rail network for the very first time. We’re delighted to be presenting them with more accessible journey options than ever before.'
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Notes to editors
- Network Rail is delivering the Access for All (AfA) programme on behalf of the DfT which includes access improvement works at over 90 national rail stations, of which 61 stations are of particular interest to Games time accessible transport. AfA works have also been accelerated in programme at key stations, for example Slough for the Eton Dorney venue.
- TfL has invested hundreds of millions of pounds in making the transport network more accessible in the last few years, with improvements such as new lifts, trains, platform humps, wide aisle gates, tactile paving and audio-visual displays.
- A total of 66 Tube stations are now step-free and all Tube stations have staff trained to assist passengers. 16 key Tube stations will provide temporary manual boarding ramps, including Earl’s Court, King’s Cross St. Pancras, Oxford Circus, Southfields, Stratford, Westminster and Wimbledon, enabling easier boarding by wheelchair users.
- Every station on the DLR is step-free and London’s bus fleet is the most accessible fleet in the world – with all 8,500 buses low-floor wheelchair accessible and fitted with ramps which are checked daily to ensure they are working. All 22,000 taxis are fitted with wheelchair ramps, and all piers and most boats in London are accessible. Other final improvements that have been delivered already, or will be in place in time for the Games, include:
o Upgrades of lifts on Docklands Light Railway and new lifts on London Overground;
o Platform humps (which raise the level of the platform to train floor level) at key Tube stations
- Disabled people intending to travel in London during the Games – and after them – now have additional improved online resources available to help them plan. A series of short ‘how to’ films have been created to help disabled people unfamiliar with London’s public transport system use TfL’s ticketing and journey planning systems, buses, the Tube, DLR and taxis. The films are available now at www.tfl.gov.uk/mobility
The ODA has engaged with disabled people locally and nationally through forums, conferences, users group meetings and advice desks at key events attracting disabled people, including:
- Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC)
- Independent Disability Access Group in London
- Whizz Kids
- LOCOG's Disability Stakeholder Groups
- TfL 2012 Stakeholder Group
- Transport for All
- London 2012 Equality and Diversity Forum
- Passenger Focus
- International Paralympic Committee Transport Group
- As with London Underground’s existing assistance service for visually-impaired passengers, it won’t be necessary to pre-book use of the ramps. When requested, Tube staff at the departure station will call ahead to the destination station to ensure that a ramp and member of staff will be waiting for them.
- If the use of the temporary ramps proves popular TfL will look to see how their use can be extended beyond the Games.
- The following 16 Tube stations will have temporary manual boarding ramps in place during the Olympic and Paralympic Games; West Ham (District and Hammersmith & City lines), Fulham Broadway, Wimbledon, Southfields, Earl’s Court (District line), Westminster (District and Circle lines), Stratford (Central line), Woodford, Oxford Circus (Bakerloo line), Queen's Park, Hammersmith (Hammersmith & City and Circle lines), King’s Cross St. Pancras, Mile End (Hammersmith & City and Circle lines), Morden, Stockwell (Northern line), Finchley Central and Edgware stations. A two week trial of Manual Boarding Ramps (MBRs) was successfully completed at Earl’s Court (District line) and Fulham Broadway stations in November 2011.
- In addition, the ODA and partners have involved disabled people in London with the trials of boarding ramps and accessible shuttle bus service operations. And we have used their experiences during test events to inform how we will deliver accessible transport services during Games-time.
For more details on this press release, call the Government Olympic Communications press office on 0207 271 1700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org