Public Transport for Mobility Services
Public transport has come a long way in terms of accessibility for wheelchair and mobility scooter users, but you may still find it difficult to use if:
- Your chair is considered large (taking up space of more than 700mm wide and 1200mm long).
- Your chair is heavy.
- You need to travel with your legs outstretched or with your back in a reclined position.
- You have a mobility scooter, as they can be hard to manoeuvre in enclosed areas.
To make travelling on Public Transport for Mobility Services as easy as possible, these are a few tips to help keep you safe on public transport.
Before You Travel
It is essential that you check your wheelchair and mobility scooter is in a safe condition before travelling. This means checking such things as tyre pressure, and that the back of your chair or scooter is not overloaded with bags. It is always good to check that your battery is secure in your mobility scooter or electric wheelchair. Apart from your safety, you must check that your chair or scooter are in good condition because a transport operator has the right to refuse you entry if they believe that your chair or scooter are not in a safe condition.
Getting On & Off
The introduction of new regulations mean that such transport such as trains, buses, and taxis will all be designed so that most wheelchair and mobility scooter users will be able to travel in them. Different types of transport will have different kinds of boarding aids to allow you to use their services.
- In the near future we will see the introduction of many more low floor buses that have power operated ramps. In rural areas these buses will have a manual ramp operated by the driver.
- Higher floor buses and coaches are more likely to have lifts that are operated by the driver or another member of staff.
- Most trains, and train stations, have a manual ramp that can be requested when you arrive at your platform. You can call for a wheelchair friendly taxi. Most taxi drivers are also happy to help you disassemble and re-assemble your mobility scooter if you ask.
- Many trams have level boarding, so you wont need a ramp or lift to access this transport.
When you use, you will find that most have allocated spaces for wheelchair users. This is because of the particular way that wheelchairs need to be secured when using the transport. The spaces vary depending on which public transport option you use.
- On mainline trains and buses, there are spaces designed to ensure that you travel in safety and comfort when travelling with your chair or scooter.
- Some trams also have dedicated spacing, but for those that don’t it is important to position yourself in an area that is not blocking an exit or gangway.
- There are taxi’s built for the purpose of carrying wheelchairs. When ordering a taxi make sure you let them know that you require a taxi with wheelchair access. If you require your mobility scooter to be take disassembled and re-assembled to take in the taxi with you then it is always good to ask the taxi company if they can accommodate your request.
All public transport services sign spaces that ensure your safety and comfort, this may be forward facing or backward facing. Make sure to never position yourself sideways as this is dangerous and can lead to injury. When travelling always apply your brakes, and always apply straps ton your wheelchair as well as your seatbelt where applicable.
Using Public Transport For The first Time
You may not have used public transport before, so it may seem like a daunting at first. If you feel a little put off the idea, then many travel companies offer the chance to see how they can accommodate you.
For your first trip on public transport, try not to pick a busy time like rush hour as this can be overwhelming. Pick a less busy time to see how you enjoy the experience, allowing you to build up more confidence.
Remember that travel companies have invested in making you feel safe and comfortable on their transport. They want you as a customer!