Asking for directions or assistance while travelling

If you travel by public transport, your bus can get cancelled or your train might leave from a different platform. You might find yourself faced with some steps at a railway or bus station with no way of getting up or down.

Knowing who to ask for help and assistance can save you stress and make sure you get to your destination safely and on time.

What to do if something goes wrong on your journey

Planning your journey

Make your journey easier by planning in advance. Plan what you would do if your journey was disrupted and you needed directions or assistance.

If you feel you might not be able to explain very well or your speech is not clear, make sure you have a pen and paper so you can write down what you need. If you have a ticket, you could show people the destination written on it or point to a map.

Accessible transport and planning journeys

Preparing for a last-minute journey

Speaking to staff

If you’re travelling by public transport, try to find someone from the company you’re travelling with.

If you’re travelling by bus, coach or train, this could be:

  • staff on a station platform, at a ticket window or help desk
  • a help point with an information button for you to speak to a member of staff
  • a train manager, conductor, buffet car staff or coach attendant

Warning When a vehicle is moving

It’s dangerous to distract a driver while the vehicle is moving. Try to wait for an official stop before you speak to them.

If you’ve arranged for assistance and it fails to turn up, you should call the company you booked it through immediately. They have a duty to get you on your train, bus or coach.

If your booked train assistance does not turn up

Asking staff for help on public transport

How to complain about public transport

Asking the public for directions or assistance

Many people are willing to help when asked for advice, directions or assistance. Some may be reluctant to help if it involves heavy lifting or physical contact.

Most bus and train stations have taxi ranks outside. Taxi drivers are unlikely to provide physical assistance, but they may be happy to give you directions.

You might have to ask more than one person to find someone to help. Not everyone has the time, especially if you’re travelling during a busy period.

If you're unsure, check local bus and train maps or travel apps.

Dealing with negative attitudes from other passengers on public transport

Using technology

If you need directions, use your phone or device to access:

  • WaytoB - an accessible navigation app
  • Waze - an accessible satnav for drivers
  • Moovit - a public transport app covering the UK
  • Citymapper - an app that covers all forms of transport for some cities in the UK, Europe and the United States
  • Google maps - for local maps
  • Twitter - ask for advice on social media using popular hashtags like #Disabledtwitter or #Accessibility

Read AppleVis about apps for blind and low-vision users of Apple products.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 08/05/2019

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