How you start travelling independently will depend on your needs and the support you have. You might want access to your own vehicle or perhaps you prefer public transport.
Your local authority, school, college or doctor may provide travel training. You can also start planning your own journeys, and practise travelling with a friend.
If you receive the higher mobility rate for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the Motability scheme can help with the cost of driving lessons and the lease of a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair.
Local authorities must publish all services available to support disabled children and their families in the area. This is called the Local Offer. Your Local Offer should include travel training.
Your school, college, local charities and some medical services may also offer travel training and advice.
If you are under 18
You can talk with your transition keyworker about what you need. If you do not have a transition keyworker, you can ask your local authority for a transition assessment.
If your child has an education, health and care (EHC) plan
Check the EHC plan, sometimes also called an EHCP. See if learning how to travel independently is part of it.
If you think travel training should be in the plan but it is not, you should say so. You could do this at the EHC plan review or earlier.
You can practise the route with a friend, family member or support worker.
You could ask them to hang back, let you lead and only help in an emergency. This means that you can try doing the things that other people might have done for you in the past.
For example, you could phone ahead to see if someone can be at the station to support you, buy a ticket or ask staff for help. You could also tell someone when to expect you.
The 16-25 railcard gives you a third off train travel. But, this railcard can only be used for one person, and there is a minimum charge for journeys made before 10am Monday to Friday. If you’re over 25 but you’re studying full-time, you’re also eligible.
The Two Together railcard gives you a third off train travel for you and the other adult on the railcard.
You may be able to get free or discounted bus travel from your local authority. Check with your local authority if you’re eligible. You will normally be eligible if you claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) or Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
If your local authority will not give you discounted travel, local charities may be able to give advice.
A bus-hail card lets you stop a bus and get on it between bus stops. It is a card with ‘BUS’ on it. Your local authority or transport provider may be able to give you one.
The ramps for buses work in different ways. The ramp on your bus may be automatic, or you may need to ask the driver for support.
Your local authority may give disabled people discounts for using taxis. Check with your local authority.
Not all taxi firms have wheelchair accessible taxis, but some do. Accessible taxis can sometimes be more expensive.
Travelling to work
Access to Work grants can help to pay for some of your travel costs if you cannot use public transport or need to adapt your vehicle. This could include taxi journeys if your condition means that public transport is not accessible to you.
Receiving money for taxis can take 2 months or more. You will either need to:
pay for the taxi, keep receipts and fill in a claim form and wait for the money to be returned to you