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More accessible journeys for DLR customers as a new pre-booked assistance trial gets underway

Access DLR is a new six-month trial which allows customers to pre-book assistance when travelling on the DLR

"KeolisAmey Docklands is excited to be delivering the Access DLR trial, in collaboration with TfL and its Independent Disability Advisory Group"

Richard Graham

Managing Director at KeolisAmey Docklands

  • Customers requiring assistance can book online or by phone and the trial will run daily between 07:00 and 19:00 

  • This follows TfL's recent Equity in Motion plan, which includes more than 80 commitments to make London's transport network more accessible and inclusive for all

  • Global Accessibility Awareness Day runs on the 16 May each year

Transport for London (TfL) and KeolisAmey Docklands (KAD) have launched a six-month trial to help make journeys on the DLR more accessible. The new Access DLR trial aims to enable customers to travel who may otherwise encounter barriers.

DLR customers will be able to pre-book an available timeslot for assistance with their journeys online or by phone at least two hours before their journey for travel seven days a week between 07:00 and 19:00. Short-notice requests can also be made by phone for travel assistance less than two hours before a customer's planned DLR journey and these will be subject to staff availability at the time of travel.

Customers with a confirmed booking will be met at the start of their DLR journey (or other requested location on the network) by clearly identifiable Access DLR staff, who can accompany them throughout their DLR journey to provide the requested travel support.*  Feedback will be gathered throughout the trial on how the service works, hours of operation and potential demand for the service beyond the six month trial.

Access DLR is open to anyone aged 18 and over who requires assistance to travel, covering a wide range of needs including mobility, visual impairments and mental health. Users will not be asked for any proof of disability to use the service.

This trial follows other major improvement projects for DLR services with new trains set to start to be introduced by the end of 2024. TfL is introducing 54 new trains to the DLR fleet to replace the oldest trains, some of which are over 30 years old. This will help improve the frequency and reliability of services and offer better facilities for those with mobility impairments and accessibility needs. The new trains feature spacious and more accessible walk-through carriages, three multi-use areas for large items like prams and luggage, in addition to three dedicated wheelchair spaces and improved audio and visual real-time travel information.

Seb Dance, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: "Creating an inclusive transport network is an essential part of the Mayor's Transport Strategy. With the Access DLR trial, we're striving to make every journey as seamless and accessible as possible for all passengers. By gathering feedback and delivering improvements, we're building a fairer, more inclusive London for everyone."

Trish Ashton, TfL's Director of Rail and Sponsored services, said: "Making London more accessible and inclusive is a priority for TfL. DLR stations have been step-free since it was introduced, but we know that only addresses one element of accessibility. Access DLR, along with the new DLR trains, will make the DLR network more widely accessible to the growing community around east and southeast London. We hope that more Londoners will feel comfortable using DLR services with these improvements in place."

Richard Graham, Managing Director at KeolisAmey Docklands, said: "KeolisAmey Docklands is excited to be delivering the Access DLR trial, in collaboration with TfL and its Independent Disability Advisory Group. We are committed to continuously improving the accessibility of the DLR and supporting TfL's wider Equity in Motion plan. We look forward to the invaluable customer feedback this trial will provide."

Liam O'Carroll, London Sight Loss Councils, said: "London Sight Loss Councils welcomes this new trial. The ability to pre-book assistance on DLR journeys should really enhance blind, partially sighted and disabled passengers' travel experience on the network and remove much of the anxiety associated with navigating DLR stations. We also welcome that the service can be booked by phone which is hugely important for those who find booking online a barrier. We hope that London residents, including blind and partially sighted people, will feel encouraged to make greater use of the DLR and urge everyone to give as much feedback as possible on the service to help the operator understand its impact. We will continue working with partners to make transport accessible."

TfL recently launched Equity in Motion, a plan with more than 80 actions to make London transport fairer, more accessible and more inclusive. The plan's commitments include:

  • Working to meet the Mayor's aim of increasing the proportion of step-free Tube stations from a third to half

  • Introducing mini ramps to cover the gap between the train and platform at all London Underground platforms that are step-free to train

  • Launching an innovation challenge aimed at improving travel for disabled people

  • More dedicated spaces for wheelchair users and buggies created on Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo and City line trains

  • Conducting a feasibility study into how TfL can increase customer toilet provision

  • Install priority seating moquette to 1,000 Routemaster buses by 2025

  • A review of TfL's approach to translating communications into different languages, including British Sign Language

Notes to Editor

*Access DLR staff will be able to assist customers with accessibility requirements with an additional item such as a bag or luggage, subject to certain weight / size limits  

  • Customers can prebook assistance through Access DLR online via or by calling 08082 81 66 55

  • The DLR is entirely step-free and currently has 45 stations and 38km of track  

  • TfL offers a 'turn up and go' assistance service at stations to help people make journeys on the London Underground, London Overground and Elizabeth line, without the need to book. This model of 'turn up and go' service is not available on the DLR, as although TfL and KAD revenue protection staff and police partners patrol the DLR network, and each train has a Passenger Service Agent onboard, the DLR operates without dedicated station staff. DLR customers requiring additional travel support can instead book specially trained staff to accompany them on their journey, with assistance tailored to their needs

  • Sight Loss Councils, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust, are regional groups led by blind and partially sighted volunteers. Together, they work with organisations to ensure what they do is accessible and inclusive, with access to public transport being a key priority

  • All TfL staff are offered Disability Equality training to help understand the barriers disabled people face when travelling and how they can provide the best support 

  • Step-free access is available at all DLR stations: Abbey Road; All Saints; Bank; Beckton; Beckton Park; Blackwall; Bow Church; Canary Wharf; Canning Town; Crossharbour; Custom House (for ExCel); Cutty Sark (for Maritime Greenwich); Cyprus; Deptford Bridge; Devons Road; East India; Elverson Road; Gallions Reach; Greenwich; Heron Quays; Island Gardens; King George V; Langdon Park; Lewisham; Limehouse; London City Airport; Mudchute; Pontoon Dock; Poplar; Prince Regent; Pudding Mill Lane; Royal Albert; Royal Victoria; Shadwell; South Quay; Star Lane; Stratford; Stratford High Street; Stratford International; Tower Gateway; West Ham; West India Quay; West Silvertown; Westferry; Woolwich Arsenal

  • Trains on the Central line, one of the busiest lines on the Tube, are also undergoing extensive overhaul work and will soon feature dedicated wheelchair spaces, better lighting and new grab poles 

  • Following a successful trial, mini-ramps have been introduced at step-free access Underground stations where there is a small gap between the train and platform 

  • TfL has updated the Electronic Service Update Boards to make information about lift services easier to understand and to reduce the time for the board to display the relevant information 

  • A self-reporting lifts project is underway to enable automatic updates regarding when lifts are in and out of service. Customers will see this updated on TfL's journey planner, the TfL Go app, third-party navigation apps as well as in stations 

  • In 2017, TfL launched a "please offer me a seat" badge following research that found customers with non-visible disabilities and conditions can find it difficult to get a seat on public transport when they need one. More than 100,000 badges have been issued since the badge launched

  • TfL has one of the most accessible bus networks in the world. All bus routes are served by low-floor vehicles with an access ramp and dedicated space for wheelchair users. Around 95 per cent of bus stops across London are fully accessible

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