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Author Topic: How many stations remain no-go zones for wheelchairs?  (Read 1089 times)
grahame
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« on: October 15, 2019, 02:36:30 pm »

Writing up a leaflet ... looking for data.   Of around 2,500 stations in the UK, how many are now wheelchair accessible?   I know it's getting better (Chippenham)  ... but I know we still have a long way to go (Avoncliff).
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stuving
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2019, 03:48:43 pm »

The information is all in the NRE stations pages, of course, though it's very tedious to get it from there. There is also a pretty map, which I've only just found. For a limited part of the country that would be an easier source to use.

Of course what you want is the data that drive it - it might be worth asking NRE about that.
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stuving
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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2019, 04:04:30 pm »

Of course what you want is the data that drive it - it might be worth asking NRE about that.

Further to that, this ORR evidence to Williams contains the information in percentage form attributed "source – NRE knowledgebase". So all you need is to sign up to that (it's free to all, apparently) and ask again nicely in XML. Always providing you can find some helpful documentation.
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ray951
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« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2019, 04:12:29 pm »

As well as the stations don't you also need to consider the trains?
For example one platform at Radley is accessible by wheelchair (down platform) but I don't know how a wheelchair user would get on/off the train given that all trains are Driver-Only, unless they were lifted on/off by passengers.

Looking at NRE it says that a'Ramp for train access' is available, but no staff help!
How is that supposed to work given that I would hope that the ramp is securely locked? Is the driver supposed to get out there cab, unlock it, get the wheelchair user on and then lock the ramp back up, get back in and drive off?
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 04:19:12 pm by ray951 » Logged
grahame
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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2019, 04:55:25 pm »

As well as the stations don't you also need to consider the trains?
For example one platform at Radley is accessible by wheelchair (down platform) but I don't know how a wheelchair user would get on/off the train given that all trains are Driver-Only, unless they were lifted on/off by passengers.

Looking at NRE it says that a'Ramp for train access' is available, but no staff help!
How is that supposed to work given that I would hope that the ramp is securely locked? Is the driver supposed to get out there cab, unlock it, get the wheelchair user on and then lock the ramp back up, get back in and drive off?

Pretty much everything is right at many stations - access to and from platforms, and between platforms where a change is being made, and staff on hand to help whenever passengers want to get on and off  or transfer between platforms, disabled parking if there is parking, loos with disabled access if there are loos, low level ticket counter if there's a ticket office.  On the TransWilts, that's Swindon, Melksham and Westbury.   I am unsure of Chippenham, in terms of accessible toilets - never taken a specific look, it may be in this group too.

Most things are right at many more stations - but something is missing.   At Trowbridge, for example, there is no change between platforms without a very long wheel around the streets.  Very much the same at Bradford-on-Avon, with out and back passenger wanting to park their disable car finding the have to take a "tour of the town" to get back to their car when they get back in the evening.   Based on your description, I would place Radley in this group as I suspect that you'll need to book assisted travel ahead of time to have someone on hand to use the equipment.

Finally, you have cases that really cannot be used by wheelchairs - local examples in Wiltshire include Avoncliff with step only access to the platforms, and I suspect still Dilton Marsh - a front door only job, and on some of the trains that call there pretty much impossible to get a wheelchair to that door.

I suppose I'm looking for an indication rather than an accurate figure of what proportion of the network is in which category;  clicking on the map (linked earlier) I would guesstimate that around half the stations are "green" for wheelchair ... and that the ones that are not tend to be smaller ones. 

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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2019, 05:16:54 pm »

This is the ORR's list of percentages as fractions. Are they what you would predict?

    Accessible ticket machines Accessible ticket office Train ramp access National key toilets Step free access Mobility set down
    Great Britain0.530.210.730.180.610.28
    East of England0.80.170.730.330.720.23
    East Midlands0.390.170.410.20.770.16
    London0.870.330.60.240.440.24
    North East0.240.130.980.130.840.47
    North West0.160.180.960.080.630.17
    South East0.890.240.790.320.560.46
    South West0.510.150.740.220.570.6
    West Midlands0.370.160.820.250.670.33
    Yorkshire and Humber0.240.080.990.080.670.34
    Scotland0.40.270.350.040.510.1
    Wales0.370.180.940.10.790.17
    [/list]
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    Reginald25
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    « Reply #6 on: October 15, 2019, 06:01:52 pm »

    Remember some stations are wheelchair friendly but forget the logistics of station access. BOA has an excellent ram,p on the Bath direction side. However there is no where to park a car for a carer whilst assisting down to the platform, and then the wheelchair user must be left without support whilst the car is moved to the BOA car park, which could take at least 5 minutes with traffic on the main road.
    That said, we should look at a positive aspect - train and station staff in the area should be congratulated on their proactive support to wheelchair users.
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    Bmblbzzz
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    « Reply #7 on: October 15, 2019, 07:37:01 pm »

    61% have step-free access, apparently.
    https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/insights/how-accessible-are-britains-railway-stations/

    A friend who knows about this stuff (works as a disability adviser*) and another who is a wheelchair user both rephrase the question:
    "The issue with "Step free access" is that it doesn't include things like gap between X or Y (which can be too big for some wheelchair users' wheels) and sometimes stepfree is partial."
    "'Step-free' can mean a VERY long detour in some cases. Step-free access to different platforms at a single station can be half a mile apart whereas a footbridge is rather quicker for the abled."

    *Not sure what the correct term is.
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    Bmblbzzz
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    « Reply #8 on: October 15, 2019, 07:43:11 pm »

    Someone else points out that according to ORR statistics, just 92 of the 2,559 stations in Britain account for half of all passenger exits and entries, so it's quite easy to get good accessibility for most journeys with a small station coverage, but also very easy for that 61% step free to be quite unimpressive in terms of usefulness, if it includes a lot of rural single-platform stations which see few journeys.
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    stuving
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    « Reply #9 on: October 15, 2019, 07:56:14 pm »

    61% have step-free access, apparently.
    https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/insights/how-accessible-are-britains-railway-stations/

    A friend who knows about this stuff (works as a disability adviser*) and another who is a wheelchair user both rephrase the question:
    "The issue with "Step free access" is that it doesn't include things like gap between X or Y (which can be too big for some wheelchair users' wheels) and sometimes stepfree is partial."
    "'Step-free' can mean a VERY long detour in some cases. Step-free access to different platforms at a single station can be half a mile apart whereas a footbridge is rather quicker for the abled."

    *Not sure what the correct term is.

    ORR have tightened up the definitions of these things - this is from "Accessible Travel Policy - Guidance for Train and Station Operators, July 2019"
    Quote
    Appendix B: Station accessibility classification system
    Every station must be allocated by operators to one of three categories A-C and described in public facing information provided by the operator (including station maps, timetables
    and posters, and the station accessibility information provided alongside the Accessible
    Travel Policy as described in Section 4, A2.2 of this guidance) as follows:
    Category A: "This station has step-free access to all platforms / the platform”
    Category B: "This station has a degree of step-free access to the platform, which may be in both directions or in one direction only - please check details."
    Category C: "This station does not have step-free access to any platform." Operators must apply the following definitions to determine which of these three
    categories a station will be allocated to:
    Category A
    The station has step-free access to and between all platforms, at all times trains are running, via level access, lifts or ramps (in accordance with new-build standards re gradient/length). Additional station entrances or walking routes not meeting the A criteria are permitted, providing the additional walking distance to avoid these is no more than 100m.
    Category B
    The station does not meet category A, but has step-free access to either all platforms or at least one platform. In some cases, the station may be usable for some disabled and older people, but in others major barriers may exist which are likely to restrict the ability of some disabled or older people to use the station. This may include long or steep ramps, access between platforms that may be via the street, and there may not be step-free access to or between all station areas.
    Category C
    The station has no step-free access to any platform.
    In its station accessibility information provided alongside the Accessible Travel Policy as described in Section 4, A2.2 of this guidance, an operator may – for the benefit of passengers and staff that require further detailed information – choose to further classify stations in category B according to the following definitions, using the text in bold to describe the level of step-free access:
    B1. “Step-free access to all platforms - may include long or steep ramps. Access between platforms may be via the street."
    This station does not meet the A criteria, but has step-free access (to all platforms) likely to be usable by many people with reduced mobility. Access may be via ramps, up to 1:10 gradient (any length). Short end-of-platform ramps may be up to 1:7. Access between platforms may be via the street, no more than 400m. Access via level crossings is permitted (if full barrier). Access routes may be via car parks, or short access roads without pavements, but otherwise routes via the street must include a pavement. Additional entrances/ walking routes not meeting the A1 or A2 criteria are permitted, providing the additional walking distance to avoid these is no more than 400m.
    B2. "Some step-free access to all platforms - please check details"
    This station has step-free access to all platforms, but major barriers exist which are likely to restrict the ability of some people to use the station. Step-free routes do not meet the A or B1 criteria (e.g. long ramps steeper than 1:10, or the step-free route between platforms is greater than 400m). Any station with an ungated or half-barrier level crossing between platforms is in B2 or lower. Any station where step-free access is only available at certain times, or only to certain passengers, is in B2 or lower (e.g. because lifts are unavailable when the station is unstaffed) for example, if the step-free entrance opening times depend on staff presence at the station.
    B3. "Some step-free access, may be in one direction only - please check details"
    This station has step-free access to fewer than the total number of platforms
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    CyclingSid
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    « Reply #10 on: October 16, 2019, 07:11:30 am »

    Quote
    How is that supposed to work given that I would hope that the ramp is securely locked? Is the driver supposed to get out there cab, unlock it, get the wheelchair user on and then lock the ramp back up, get back in and drive off?
    This appears to be the crux of the problem with DOO. Are they going to increase dwell times on all stations?

    Was speaking to an SWR guard (who believes they have lost the battle) on a Portsmouth service who noticed two unbooked wheelchairs on a platform at an unmanned station. Which involved delay because he wasn't in the disabled part of a 12 coach train, and then getting sensible message to control to make sure they were assisted at their destination. It was wondered what the effect would be if on a Saturday Scope and other disability organisations arranged for two unbooked wheelchairs on all the unmanned stations on the route
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    grahame
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    « Reply #11 on: October 16, 2019, 07:21:40 am »

    Someone else points out that according to ORR statistics, just 92 of the 2,559 stations in Britain account for half of all passenger exits and entries, so it's quite easy to get good accessibility for most journeys with a small station coverage, but also very easy for that 61% step free to be quite unimpressive in terms of usefulness, if it includes a lot of rural single-platform stations which see few journeys.

    ORR have tightened up the definitions of these things - this is from "Accessible Travel Policy - Guidance for Train and Station Operators, July 2019"

    This is the ORR's list of percentages as fractions. Are they what you would predict?

    Many thanks for all that feedback and these ad other comments.   It really confirms how complex this area is to analyse and how statistics can show all sorts of things ... solid conclusion is that there is lot of the network accessible but still a lot's that's hard to get at or has impracticalities / issues.

    I would agree that there's almost certainly a bias in number of stations that are accessible (at least to some extent) being larger ones ... at least a move in that direction. It figures - the investment goes to where the people want to travel and Waterloo is going to get more attention than Teeside Airport. But each counts as 1 unit in the tables?

    Numbers of toilets and ticket counters look low - but then what is the number of toilets and ticket counters available for the able bodied?  15% have ticket office counter access in the South West for the disabled - what's the figure for the able bodies, though? 

    The A/B/C categorisation looks like a reasonable attempt - after all, it's not too different to what I came up with empirically. 

    And ... I note that each journey involves two stations;  if (and I know it is not the case) passenger numbers were spread evenly between them all, a 0.61 ratio for enabled stations would mean a 0.61 x 0.61 station accessibility for journeys on a single train (0.37) and an even lower figure once you start looking at journeys which involve a third or more stations for a change of trains ...
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    Bmblbzzz
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    « Reply #12 on: October 16, 2019, 12:39:27 pm »

    The "All the stations" people have done an episode addressing some aspects of this: https://youtu.be/IdZ16SAihl8
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    Bmblbzzz
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    « Reply #13 on: October 17, 2019, 08:21:35 am »

    Quote
    How is that supposed to work given that I would hope that the ramp is securely locked? Is the driver supposed to get out there cab, unlock it, get the wheelchair user on and then lock the ramp back up, get back in and drive off?
    This appears to be the crux of the problem with DOO. Are they going to increase dwell times on all stations?

    Was speaking to an SWR guard (who believes they have lost the battle) on a Portsmouth service who noticed two unbooked wheelchairs on a platform at an unmanned station. Which involved delay because he wasn't in the disabled part of a 12 coach train, and then getting sensible message to control to make sure they were assisted at their destination. It was wondered what the effect would be if on a Saturday Scope and other disability organisations arranged for two unbooked wheelchairs on all the unmanned stations on the route
    I've been informed that a law firm is lending cameras to disabled people to record evidence of TOCs failing to make access provision and that there is a fund available under the Equality and Human Rights Commission for people who might be willing to take strategic legal challenges against transport providers for failure to comply with the relevant acts.
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