Even if you have super-human levels of fitness, climbing up and down the stairs of London Underground stations can be a challenge, and infinitely harder if you have accessibility needs. We’ve all heard the warning: ‘This station has 193 steps, equivalent to 15 floors,’ booms the voice at Covent Garden station. Luckily, someone has created a handy map documenting all the stations you can access completely ‘step-free’, yay!
Currently, around a third of tube stations and half of Overground stations are accessible without having to use any stairs. TfL defines ‘step-free access’ as ‘lifts, ramps and level surfaces so you don’t have to use stairs or escalators, and can avoid the step and gap on to our trains, buses and boats.’
Including a colour-coded key, the snazzy map shows commuters which stations have step-free access to platforms from the street, level boarding, and where stairs are unavoidable.
Made by a Reddit user who goes by the name Parque_Bench, the map redesigns TfL’s Rail and Tube Services map. Combining elements from a variety of TfL maps, you can now see all the zones of London, plus exotic far-flung locations like Epsom and Ewell, alongside the DLR, trams and all-night services in one place.
On the post, Parque_Bench says: ‘Since the London Connections map was replaced with the current Rail & Tube Map I’ve never really liked it and always wanted to redesign it.’
The map even includes green spaces. Parque_Bench says: ‘[Green spaces are] something I like to see on transport maps to encourage people to explore.’
Commenters on the Reddit thread have praised the new map. One user said: ‘I always get frustrated when services are shown separately… this is another level.’ While another called the map ‘simply wonderful’.
TfL has its own step-free map. And according to its website, if you’re a wheelchair user and the station lift is out of service, staff will help you work out an alternative journey. Or failing that, book you a cab and they’ll foot the bill.