Promises made to the world that the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be the most accessible ever for disabled people will be broken predicts Dee Doocey, the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Olympics spokesperson, unless disabled people are at least given access to a network of Olympic road lanes during the 2012 Games.
Detailed research carried out by the London Assembly Member has revealed that many disabled people will face public transport journeys twice as long as those faced by non disabled people. Straight forward journeys on the London Underground will be complex and lengthy for disabled Londoners and visitors - often involving four or even five changes on the tube due to the limited number of accessible tube stations.
A further discovery from Dee Doocey's research is that Transport for London's journey planner actually claim that no public transport journey to the Olympic Park is even possible for disabled people starting their journey from Stansted or Gatwick airports. Such inaccurate information is routinely provided to disabled people because TfL fail to provide information about accessible network rail overground stations for disabled travellers. In complete contrast Transport for London do provide information about network rail journeys for non disabled people , so assisting them in making the easiest journey across London.
Commenting on the findings of the research Dee Doocey AM said:
"In 2005 London promised the world the most accessible Games ever, yet since then the Mayor has cancelled step free access at six London Underground stations and on a daily basis inaccurate advice is provided to disabled travellers.
"A chasm now exists between the promises made in Singapore about the accessibility of the 2012 Games and the reality set to face disabled people travelling to Stratford.
"Yet with only two years to go to the start of the Games some vital changes can still be made. Far more disabled parking must be provided at the Olympic Park. Most importantly we must ensure that the dedicated road lanes for the Games are open to disabled spectators and not just Olympic VIPs."
Notes to editors:
1. London's Bid Document for the 2012 Games stated:
"The Games in 2012 will set new standards in diversity and inclusion."
"Our vision is for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London to set new standards for services, facilities and opportunities for disabled people"
"The Games in London will set new standards of inclusive and sustainable design in sporting facilities, residential developments, transport procurement and service delivery"
Boris Johnson also made further promises about the 2012 Games being the most accessible ever:
2. The Olympic Park will have 564 reserved parking spaces for disabled people. In contrast there will be at least 1100 parking spaces allocated to the media.
3. For information about the Olympic Route Network:
4. The Transport for London journey planner used for this report can be found at:http://journeyplanner.tfl.gov.uk/user/XSLT_TRIP_REQUEST2?language=en