£200m boost but no access for disabled on Glasgow subway

Glasgow subway

Upgrade falls short of making Glasgow's subway network accessible for disabled people 

8th March 2016 by Robert Armour 2 Comments

Disabled commuters have slammed Glasgow’s transport chiefs over disabled access to subway stations.

This week Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) announced a £200 million investment in new driverless trains that will incorporate wheelchair spaces.

However Glasgow Disability Alliance (GDA) said many disabled people will never see the trains because the platforms and stations are inaccessible.

The group has criticised SPT for failing to improve access despite the huge investment.

Deputy chief executive Marianne Scobie said the majority of GDA’s members won’t be able to access the trains.

She added: "Right now, St. Enoch station has a lift which is fine if you want to go on a round trip on the subway without getting off.

"The irony is the underground trains, even the ones now, because they are completely level with the platform and because of the way they have been designed, they would be really accessible if people could get down to the platform.

"It's really frustrating that in this day and age we still don't have access to the underground which is one of the things that makes Glasgow completely different to other cities in the UK.

"We're one of the few cities in the UK which has an underground system yet we're still denying that to people who are wheelchair users.

People have just taken it for granted that they will never be able to access the underground - Marianne Scobie

"When we talk about people moving about the city and not being able to access public transport, people obviously tend to talk about buses and trains but people have just taken it for granted that they will never be able to access the underground which is a real shame.

"It is a quick, cheap and efficient way to get around the city.”

GDA said that SPT should consider adapting their current escalators to make them wheelchair accessible if installing lift shafts would be too expensive.

A spokeswoman from SPT said: "We worked closely with the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee (DPTAC), Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) and Glasgow Access Panel to look at the access challenges faced by people with a disability.

"It was their input that resulted in the very significant engineering commission to install lifts at Govan and St Enoch’s stations and explored solutions to enable wheelchair users to access our trains.

"This will enable journeys from two of our main stations from the city centre to the south of Glasgow offering easier access to the new Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus and further travel from the Govan integrated transport hub.

"It is technically not feasible to introduce lifts for wheelchair use at every station in the 120 year old system.

"However, where there is a technically feasible solution, SPT remains fully committed and prepared to work to achieve fully accessible integrated transport for all.”

8th March 2016 by Anglophile

Headlines like this perpetuate the myth that only people with mobility impairments are disabled. Third Force News should be more aware. 'No access for wheelchair users' would have been more accurate.

9th March 2016 by Ivor Ambrose

Here at ENAT - the European Network for Accessible Tourism, we have collected many "good practices" on acccessible transportation, travel and tourism. There are always access problems with older Metro systems but solutions can be found with new technical innovations and a "can do" approach. Athens has a 100% accessible Metro and fully upgraded "Electric Railway" system since the 2004 Olympics, for example. We'd like to be able to say to visitors with disabilities - Go to Glasgow! But this news item can only be an off-putting signal for tourists, as well as being a great shame for the locals.