You do not need to prove you cannot wear a mask. If you’re worried about what other people might say or do, you can use ‘exemption cards’ to explain that you or your child cannot wear a mask. You can have it on your phone or print it.
You could also try getting a sunflower lanyard. This tells others that you have an invisible condition or impairment. You can get them free at supermarkets, including Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Argos, Tesco and Morrisons.
By law, you have the right to the same level of service as every other passenger using public transport. In practice, this means that the service may be different.
For example, you can get help to get on or off a train but only if the station has staff and there's space on the train. Booking assistance in advance could also mean that you’re more likely to get the things that you need.
All transport providers have a duty to provide an accessible service. There are different standards for trains, taxis, buses and planes.
Some staff may not understand how they can support you. Disability awareness training can help. For example, Transport for London (TfL) works with disabled people to train staff on how to support disabled customers.
Asking for help
Be clear about what you need. If you’re asking for help on the day or booking assistance in advance, you should:
explain what support you need as staff may not know
make sure your request is polite but firm: you’re trying to work out a solution together
It can help to build relationships with staff at stations or on routes you regularly travel. Thank the staff if they have helped you. Knowing you have good relationships with staff can make you feel more confident.
Challenging staff when you have a problem
Challenge staff if you have a problem or do not get the help you need. Explain in detail what went wrong, stay calm and stick to the facts.
If you cannot resolve the problem, ask to speak to a senior member of staff or someone in customer service. Be firm if you need to be.
Staff may offer you a compromise that is unlawful, such as asking you to fold your mobility scooter before you board the train and offering no help. If this happens, it’s up to you to decide whether to travel or not.
If you’re in the middle of a journey
Talk to a member of staff as soon as you can. The sooner you do this, the more likely they can put things right. For example, if your booked assistance did not arrive and you’re stuck on a train, the train may be able to stop at the next station and provide a taxi.