Guide dog change to help travellers
Published 03/10/2011 | 12:17
Guide dogs will be allowed on moving escalators on transport systems in London for the first time from this week under changes to an "antiquated" bylaw.
The move will affect trained assistance and police dogs on the Tube, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground.
Transport for London said it had been advised for years that dogs should not be allowed to use moving escalators to prevent injuries, so passengers had to carry dogs or use lifts or stairs instead.
Recent research carried out by The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association proved that dogs can be trained to use a moving escalator.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "The modernisation of this antiquated bylaw helps make the Tube more accessible for all and is the fruit of some excellent collaborative work between Transport for London and The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association."
Oliver Barton, client services manager at Guide Dogs for the Blind, said: "Once guide dog owners are trained, they will be able to safely use escalators if they provide the only means of accessing TfL managed stations.
"Our aim is to help guide dog owners live independently and this change is another step towards helping blind and partially sighted people enjoy the same freedom as everyone else."
Caroline Pidgeon, leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group and chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, said: "The ban on blind people being able to take a guide dog on to moving escalators on the London Underground is outdated and wrong. There is clear evidence that trained guide dogs can safely use moving escalators.
"Having campaigned for a change in this policy, I am delighted that this change is finally taking place."