Disability campaigner Sulaiman Khan backs calls to keep manual ramps at Woodford and other Tube stations

A Woodford Green campaigner has backed calls to keep manual ramps that help disabled people board the Tube at Woodford and other Underground stations.

Sulaiman Khan, 27, of Spring Gardens, Woodford Green, who has a type of muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, said it has been “amazing” since Transport for London (TfL) introduced the portable ramp during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The transport body has provided the ramps at 16 Underground stations where there is no step-free access to the trains.

It has said it wants to keep the ramps after the Games but has not yet said if and how that will be done, having previously said it would investigate the options if the ramps proved popular.

Mr Khan said it would be “completely absurd” for TfL to not keep them and campaign group Transport for All has called for them to be “rolled out” at every suitable station.

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Mr Khan said: “It’s not only disabled people that would benefit [but] the elderly and mothers with pushchairs.

“Disability can happen to anyone. It makes good sense for everybody to have access to public transport.”

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Prior to the Games, three carers had to lift Mr Khan and his wheelchair, which weighs 195kg, on to a train at Woodford, Station Approach.

As a result, the university graduate, who is a regional ambassador with the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, would only use it every three or four months as a last resort.

During the Games period, he has gone on up to 15 journeys on the Central Line in six weeks.

He said: “You ask ‘can I have a ramp?’ and they would quickly get it out. When I got back on at Stratford, they radioed ahead to Woodford and they were ready and waiting.”

It’s an experience echoed by mobility scooter user Navin Bedia, 54, of Hamilton Avenue, Barkingside, who made his first Tube journey ever from Woodford station yesterday and who is featured in today’s (Thursday) Recorder.

A TfL spokesman said: “We want to keep the ramps and we are looking now at how that will all work.”

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