Transport for London pauses TfL Access closure after Twitter backlash

Disabled people voiced their concern online after the transport provider announced it was discontinuing its TfL Access Twitter account.

In a tweet posted on Wednesday, TfL said: “This profile is closing. Follow @TfL and visit our website to see our range of travel tools.”

The account, which currently has more than 36,000 followers, is regularly used to share information about lift availability and step-free access at London’s tube stations.

Responding to the announcement, Twitter user Anne Bookless said: “This has been the best way for me to spot lift problems [and] when they halve been fixed.

“Now this Twitter account is stopping, where is the quickest way for me to spot a lift problem on my route? I’m on an Android phone and your website says your Go app is only available on Apple.”

Other users raised concerns over information overload, as dedicated Twitter accounts for all eleven tube lines also revealed that they would be closing, and directed followers to the main TfL account. 

Wheelchair user John Donne tweeted: “This is the worst decision ever made. Consolidating all TfL accounts into one means we cannot filter information.

“It will be information overload for many disabled passengers. Either that, or TfL will simply stop letting us know of any problems, making us search your website!”

In a comment to this website, TfL said they engaged with accessibility groups and conducted an Equality Impact Assessment prior to the decision being made, but admitted that “more engagement needs to be done”.

A spokesperson told Liam O’Dell: “Twitter no longer automatically displays messages in chronological order, meaning the latest travel information that a customer might see might not always be accurate and timely and therefore could lead to customers being misinformed. 

“By reducing the number of Twitter accounts we manage to just focus on @tfl, we believe we can better focus on responding to all customer enquires – especially those with accessibility queries – more quickly. 

“We are aware however that there are some concerns raised by several followers of the @tflaccess Twitter feed about the closure of this account and we have therefore temporarily paused this decision while further engagement with accessibility groups takes place.”

TfL also said that they have developed new “travel tools” to make sure accurate live travel information is provided to their customers – including a new TfL Go app.

More information about the travel tools can be found on TfL’s official website.

Update: Disabled campaigner Alan Benson has confirmed on Twitter that organisations Transport for All and London Travel Watch will be meeting with TfL next week to discuss their plans to close the TfL Access account.

“You have been heard,” he said.

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