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.
Planning your journey can help make sure it’s accessible to you. This could include:
how to get to your station or stop
contacting the company to check that your transport is accessible
checking that the station or stop has the equipment you need, like ramps or accessible toilets
booking help from transport staff
Many transport providers publish accessibility information and guides in alternative formats, like Braille or large print. You may find these by looking for ‘accessibility’ on their website or in the ‘help’ section. Look online or contact them to find out more.
Companies might replace your train with an older train if it’s being cleaned or repaired. If the replacement is not accessible to you, train operators have a duty to get you to your destination. This can involve booking you on another train service or paying for a taxi.
Check station accessibility before you travel.
Some step-free stations may have a gap between the platform and the train.
Make sure you have the train company’s contact details with you so you can notify them of problems with your journey. Tell a friend or colleague about your plans so they can also tell the train company.
You can also call the train company or station on the day to check whether the station is accessible to you and if the lifts are working.
If you need help
You can get help to:
book tickets and make reservations
get around the station
get on and off the train
You can book assistance online or by calling the train company. Most train companies ask for 24 hours’ notice.
Arrive at the station at least 20 minutes early and tell station staff you have booked assistance. This gives them time to check help is in place and make other arrangements if necessary.
If you cannot find a member of staff, go to the ticket office or use the help points on platforms. Some large mainline stations have Network Rail Assistance Offices where you can find assistance staff. Check with the rail company about what’s available.
If you’re at an unstaffed station and there are no help points or an assistance helpline, you could try contacting the train company or National Rail Enquiries on 03457 48 49 50.
Train companies have different policies about using mobility scooters. You can carry a folded-up scooter onto the train as luggage. If you want to take a larger scooter, contact the train company to find out if they can carry them.
Some underground stations are more accessible than others.
London Underground and London Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
Less than a third of tube stations have step-free access.
If the lifts are out of use, ask a member of staff for an alternative route or if there’s a service lift you can use.
All DLR stations have lift or ramp access to the platforms and level access to trains. Many DLR stations do not have staff outside peak times but there should be a Passenger Service Agent on every train. You can also look for help points on the platform to speak with a member of staff.
Tyne and Wear Metro
All stations are accessible through lifts, ramps or level access. Many stations do not have staff but you can book assistance or speak with someone using a help point. You cannot take a powered mobility scooter on the train.
Merseyrail’s station accessibility map shows which stations have step-free access. You can also find out the size of the gap between the train and the platform at each station.
Many stations do not have staff but you can book help if you need it. If you want to travel from an unstaffed station, you can call for assistance using the help button on each platform.
Taxis and minicabs
By law, taxi drivers must:
stop and pick you up
enable you to travel in your wheelchair if they’re driving a wheelchair accessible vehicle (most black cabs)
take your assistance dog and, if they refuse, you can ask to see a medical exemption certificate showing why
help you get in and out of the vehicle without running the meter
not charge you extra for your journey or your luggage
help you with any luggage you have, including your wheelchair
If planning journeys on public transport is difficult for you, you could think about using the Motability Scheme to pay for the costs of leasing a car, scooter or powered wheelchair.
You are eligible to join the Motability Scheme if you’ve been awarded either the:
higher rate mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for 12 months or more
the enhanced rate mobility component of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for 12 months or more
To join the scheme, you will need to pay using the components of these benefits. The scheme pays for insurance, breakdown cover and vehicle tax. The scheme can pay for some driving lessons. It does not pay for fuel.