Finally, an end to one of the biggest deterrents to using the London Underground – the statement at the top of the escalator that ‘dogs must be carried’. Now granted I have defied that order on numerous occasions, skipping off down the left hand side without anyone noticed I had neglected to bring my rather large boxer in my arms – this must be even more of a worry for those without a back-up dog at home.
In reality, the outdated byelaw requiring all dogs to be carried (yes, yes, I know that’s what it means, but it isn’t what it says!!) on escalators has finally changed for guide dogs.
Visually impaired and other disabled people with trained assistance dogs will be able to use moving escalators legally for the first time on the Tube, Docklands Light Railway and London Overground thanks to the revision of a dated byelaw.
Transport for London (TfL) has worked with the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association to devise a training course that means the byelaw can be updated and all trained assistance and police dogs will be allowed to use moving escalators.
The Government has now approved the byelaws and they will come into force on 5 October 2011.
The Guide Dogs for the Blind Association has researched the safest methods for taking dogs on and off escalators and worked with TfL to test the techniques.
Now guide dog owners who undertake special training developed and delivered by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association will be able to use escalators at TfL stations.
A real practical step forward in improving accessibility – and another great example of how adaptable dogs can be.