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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Review of Guide Dog ban on Tube escalators

Did you know that even Guide Dogs aren't allowed to travel on moving escalators on the Tube?  The "dogs must be carried" rule applies to them, making it very difficult for visually impaired people.  Fortunately it looks like the by-law forcing this could be changed if Boris honours a commitment he made yesterday at City Hall.

Guide Dog on Tube by ash matadeen
Guide Dog on Tube by ash matadee

Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, raised the issue at yesterday's Mayor’s Question Time session. A week before was at People's Question time and told Boris how difficult it was for him to access the Tube.

Pidgeon said: "The ban on blind people being able to take a guide dog onto moving escalators is outdated and must be changed. There is now clear evidence that trained guide dogs can safely use moving escalators so ending the insulting service that many blind people currently face when they use the Tube."

Currently TfL's guidance for those using Guide Dogs states "If you have an assistance dog, staff will help you avoid escalators where possible, or stop them to allow you and your dog to walk. However, at busy times it may not be possible to stop escalators immediately, as it may cause overcrowding. If you feel able, you may carry your dog on the escalator."

Caroline also commented on the Mayor’s pledge to install 100 wide aisle gates at Tube stations across London over the next 18 months:

Wide aisle gates are crucial to allowing many blind people to use the Tube. I welcome the Mayor’s promise to install new gates, but even after this investment one in five Tube stations will still lack a basic access facility for many blind people. The Mayor must now state when 100 per cent of Tube stations are accessible for Guide Dog users.”

Related post
Dog confused by Tube escalator

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