I was astonished to recently learn that Waterloo Station was planning to become the first major London rail terminus to switch off its tannoy
Guest Blog. Friday Opinion Piece
Caroline Pidgeon. Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member and chair of the London Assembly transport committee
Have we avoided another battle at Waterloo?
Turning off the Tannoys at Waterloo station
Following complaints from some passengers and locals that tannoy announcements were making the station supposedly too noisy, Waterloo Station seriously considered switching off the announcement service.
This was one of the most absurd decisions by a train company I’ve ever come across, especially as only two years ago South West Trains were boasting about how clear the announcements from their expensive new tannoy system would now be.
Visual and audible announcements at railway stations are vital for disabled and older people to be able to travel independently. It would be a scandal if such an important station as Waterloo were made inaccessible to any of its passengers,
Read what one passenger had to say.
I regularly use Waterloo and I think it’s absolutely ridiculous they would even consider turning off the Tannoy system. Obviously as a visually impaired person I rely on this to know what is happening but it’s also important for people with learning disabilities and people who find it difficult to read English. If they turn the Tannoy off you are reliant on finding a member of staff .. and this is the hardest thing to do. The lack of the Tannoy would really restrict my ability to get around independently.
Lynn Cox Arts Coach and Training
So as someone who is passionate about disabled access I am relieved that following reactions from disability campaigners, South West Trains has reversed its decision to suspend the audio announcements of train information which were initially planned for a two-week trial from October 6. Accessible transport in London is vital.
According to The Evening Standard South West Trains will now be reviewing the feedback and carrying out further consultation before any decisions are made.
Let’s hope that next Thursday, 2nd October, the powers-that-be at Waterloo Station will be attending the Access all Areas exhibition and conference about disabled and older people’s access to transport. The event will highlight current and future innovations aimed at making it easier for everyone to get out and about in the capital. It will also provide an opportunity for disabled and older people and their organisations to discuss priorities for accessibility with leaders in the transport field.
In conclusion, as long as the tannoy announcements remain, we may not have to face another Battle of Waterloo.
learn more about Caroline Pidgeon
Access all areas – London’s transport accessibility show
Open for one day only, Access All Areas is a free public exhibition and conference about disabled and older people’s access to transport – 2nd October.
The event will highlight current and future innovations aimed at making it easier for everyone to get out and about in the Capital. It will also provide an opportunity for disabled and older people and their organisations to discuss priorities for accessibility with leaders in the transport field.