The UK Government has detailed a set of disability rules for when travelling by public transport. For wheelchair users the details are as follows:-
WHEELCHAIRS ON TRAINS
On mainline (intercity, suburban and cross country) there’s a space for your wheelchair. Put your chair in this space and use the brakes (or switch your wheelchair’s power off) when the train is moving. Your right to travel by train is protected by the train company’s Disabled People’s Protection Policy (DPPP). Each train company must produce a DPPP and you can get a copy from the company.
Airlines and airports have different facilities for disabled people. Find out before you travel if your airport has the facilities you need.
You can’t take your wheelchair into the passenger cabin of a plane – it will be stored in the hold. Again, speak to your airline, travel agent or tour operator about the procedures – and most definitely tell them as soon as possible if you’re taking on a battery powered or mobility aid.
CARS, BUSES & COACHES
The law says that bus and coach drivers must give reasonable assistance to disabled people, eg helping them get on or off a coach. This doesn’t mean, however, physically lifting passengers or heavy mobility equipment. And with cars there is the Motability scheme which can help you with leasing a car, powered wheelchair or scooter.
TAXIS & MINICABS
In some areas (mainly larger cities), licensed taxis have to be wheelchair accessible. You can find out if there are accessible taxis near you by contacting the licensing office at your local council.
In London, all black cabs are wheelchair accessible. And some of the newer ‘black cabs’ are also fitted with induction loops and intercoms for hearing aid users.
Whilst we welcome Government laying down ground rules the above, in most cases, seems just to be saying, “contact the operator prior to travelling to see if they can help”. We would love to hear your experiences and we will make sure that they’re forwarded to the appropriate Government Department.