You can travel on many buses, trains, taxis and underground networks without needing to book a ticket or arrange help in advance.
All public transport providers must provide an accessible service. In practice, you may not be able to use their service at all times or without a staff member to help you. You have different rights depending on whether you’re on a train, taxi, bus or coach.
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 to get you to your destination.
Train companies have different policies about using mobility scooters on trains. 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.
It also shows how large the gaps are between the station and the platform.
You can check the standard tube map for stations with:
a blue wheelchair symbol for step-free access
a white wheelchair symbol for step-free access and no gaps between the train and the platform
an open circle symbol for a step-free interchange
If the lifts are out of use, you can 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.
You do not have to book assistance to use any service on the Transport for London (TfL) network. You can turn up and go.
Licensed minicabs are usually too small to take a powered or unfolded wheelchair. Some minicab companies, like Uber, let you select a wheelchair accessible vehicle.
Buses and coaches
In most towns and cities, buses have ramps and wheelchair spaces. Check with your local bus company.
You can take some smaller mobility scooters on low-floor buses.
If you’re blind or partially sighted, you can use REACT, a talking sign system that gives real-time information via electronic display boards. Contact your local bus company to see if it’s available on your route.
Some coach companies operate accessible coaches, including National Express, Oxford Tube and Megabus. Check if the coach station is accessible and book help if you need it.
Help to get on or off
The law says bus and coach drivers must give reasonable assistance to disabled people, for example helping you get on and off the bus or coach. This does not mean physically lifting passengers or heavy mobility equipment.
You can ask the bus driver to help you get up the ramp on the bus if the gradient is too steep.