Can you imagine traveling to all 270 London Underground stations as fast as you can? Let alone as a wheelchair user?
Ben Holt, who has cerebral palsy, will be the first person with a disability to attempt the Tube Challenge. He is planning to take on this challenge in order to point out the problems with the Tfl (Transport for London) system.
What is the Tube Challenge?
Recognized in 1960, The Tube Challenge is a Guinness world record attempt at visiting all 270 of the London Underground stations in the fastest amount of time possible. Marc Gawley recently set the current world record for the challenge on August 17th, 2013 with the fastest amount of time being 16 hours, 20 minutes, and 27 seconds. The unbroken record before this was taken place in 2009 with the time being 16 hours, 44 minutes, and 16 seconds.
The Tube & Accessibility
The Tube Challenge is difficult to accomplish even without being a wheelchair user. Besides thinking about waiting times, travel times, and the large amounts of research required, accessibility issues play an even larger role. An even bigger issue is that a numerous amount of the stations that are often visited are not efficient. Only about 25 of London’s underground stations have step-free access.
Is London aware of this? Absolutely.
For many years London has been planning to incorporate step free upgrades and had also previously committed in 2006 to have one-third of the Tube stations step-free by 2013. Although, as we can see, all the plans for that fell through.
Though their 151-year-old system for transportation is not ideal for disabled travelers because if it’s outdated design with stairs, narrow doorways, and wide gaps when getting off the trains, it is a great mode of transportation provided to 1.2 billion passengers a year. Could you imagine how many more people it would provide transportation to if it was made more accessible for the disabled and elderly community?
If Ben completes the Tube Challenge, he will not only set a new world record as being the first disabled person to complete it, but he will encourage London to consider making the upgrades that were planned before.
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