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How to Use Public Transport With a Disability

Using Public Transport With a Disability

In the UK, all public transport must by law be “accessible” to allow disabled passengers to use it, including ensuring that guide dogs and assistance dogs are permitted. In England, people with disabilities and older people can normally acquire a concessionary bus pass which allows them to use bus services for free between 9.30am and 11pm from Monday to Friday. During the weekend and on bank holidays, the pass is valid at any time.

Getting assistance with public transport

If you’re planning to use public transport, it’s worth getting in touch with the transport provider before travelling to ensure they can prepare to help you in whatever way you need, and also to see if they have disability access such as ramps and lifts. Trains and buses almost always have seating reserved for older people and people with disabilities, as well as dedicated space for wheelchairs.

They also will usually have wide doors for ease of access, and ramps that can be deployed for wheelchair users or people who struggle with mobility. Often older people and people with disabilities choose to have a carer come with them to ensure they’re fully supported at all stages of their journey, and also for the added companionship.

Your bus pass

The Concessionary Bus Pass scheme was set up to enable people with disabilities to receive free travel on buses. You may be eligible for a concessionary Disabled Bus Pass if you:

  • have a long-term disability or injury which seriously impairs your ability to walk
  • are without the use of both arms
  • have a learning disability and/or are registered with Adult and Community Services
  • have had your driving license refused or revoked on medical or physical grounds
  • are blind or partially sighted
  • are profoundly or severely deaf
  • are without speech

Your rail pass

A disabled persons railcard can be purchased for £20 a year, or £54 for three years, and entitles the holder to 1/3 off all train tickets across the UK. Children aged 5 to 15 with disabilities may also apply for a disabled persons railcard, which allows an adult to travel with them for a third of the cost while the child pays the regular child fare. You will be eligible for a disabled persons railcard if one of the following criteria applies to you:

  • You receive Personal Independence Payments (PIP)
  • You receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA) at either:
    – the higher or lower rate for the mobility component, or
    – the higher or middle rate for the care component
  • You have a visual impairment
  • You have a hearing impairment
  • You have epilepsy
  • You receive Attendance Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance
  • You receive War Pensioner’s Mobility Supplement
  • You receive War or Service Disablement Pension for 80% or more disability
  • You buy or lease a vehicle through the Motability scheme

Help from a carer

At Helping Hands, we have over 30 years of experience in supporting people with a wide range of conditions. Our primary objective is to help people to be as independent and confident as possible in their own homes. Often this involves ensuring people feel able to maintain the activities that have formed part of their weekly routine for so long, such as doing the weekly shopping or attending a particular activity.

There can sometimes be a level of uncertainty surrounding public transport, however, and its ease of use. If you have any concerns about using public transport, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly customer care team today to find out how we can assist you. Our brilliant home carers will always be happy to assist you in getting out and about, allowing you to enjoy more freedom without having to worry about being left unsupported.

Page reviewed by Carole Kerton-Church, Regional Clinical Lead on November 22, 2021