During the past 2 years, since having to give up work due to a severe back condition, one of the Arun Access Group members has discovered the challenges of getting out and about using public transport when using a wheelchair. Listed below is some information regarding public transport and the accessibility for Disabled People
Brighton & Hove Buses will allow some types of joystick controlled battery operated and manual wheelchairs.
They operate a system of a home visit by Mr. Mark Bowen from the Brighton & Hove Bus Company to establish the suitability of the wheelchair. Following the assessment, the company will issue you with an approval pass to show to the drivers. (There is no charge for this service).
A new scheme that Brighton & Hove buses are trying out is the Bridge card. This a discreet card that disabled customers can show to the drivers. This is useful for those customers with a disability that may not be noticeable, but who may need assistance with access and egress. There is an accessible guide to down load is on their web site:www.buses.co.uk/
Customer service number: 01273 886 200
Compass buses run a similar scheme to Brighton & Hove buses. A person has to apply for a permit to show the driver; they use the Brighton & Hove buses guidelines as to size of the wheelchair that they are able to accommodate.
Their website is: www.compass-travel.co.uk/
Customer service number: 01903 690025
Stagecoach run the same system as both Brighton & Hove and Compass.
Their website is:
Customer service number: 0845 1210190
Please beware if any of the above Bus companies have a breakdown on one of their routes, they may have to run a service which is unsuitable for disabled passengers. Customers are advised to telephone the appropriate bus company to find out if a 100% service is in operation in the area in which you wish to travel.
Apollo Taxis: 01903 723 030(Manual Only)
Sue Harman (Bognor Regis) 07514848808(Most sizes ring first)
All the above companies will take wheelchairs but you will need to book in advance.
Arun District Taxi Licensing advise that:
1. Your dog must be identifiable as a Guide dog (Yellow bib); or
2. As an Assistance dog (Purple bib)
3. If you are traveling in a private hire taxi your dog must sit in the foot well
4. Your dog traveling in any vehicle must not sit on the seats.
You may also find helpful the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association policy document 'Taxi and PHV Policy - Assistance Dogs' here
Wheelchair users can now book an Uber in London using the app with UberWAV
Southern rail have produced a handy booklet on how to access all their station facilities, called “Our Station Access Guide”. This is available to download from their website:When booking assisted travel make sure you give your mobile phone number to the person taking your booking so they can pass it on to the train guard so that the guard can inform you if there are any disruptions on your journey
Accessibility upgrade for rail stations in the South
Disabled commuters in the south are set to benefit from a £60 million investment program. Upgrades at stations including Crawley and Canterbury east will allow passengers to board carriages without having to use steps.
Customer Service number: 08451 272920
Assisted Travel Helpline: 0800 138 1016
Transport for London have produced a large guide on their accessible transport network; London buses operate a 100% wheelchair access friendly service. All drivers undergo training in how to communicate with disabled passengers.
London Transport produce a handbook, the “Big Red Book” which gives drivers clear guidance on the level of service expected from them. Every driver receives a copy. The guidance includes the following:
* Guidance on pulling in close to the kerb at bus stops
* Kneeling the bus to assist passengers who need help boarding
* Allowing older and disabled passengers time to hold on or get to a seat before driving off.
More London underground stations are being adapted for disabled users but this is a huge undertaking. London Transport are working on this, but it will take years to achieve full disabled access at all stations.
Victoria station hopes to steep free by 2018/19
It has just been announced in an e-mail on the 19th March 2014 TFL has launched a new ‘Turn up and Go’ assistance at all London Overground stations.
Staff will provide assistance without the need to book in advance
This has been confirmed to me by TFL in a recent exhibition at the Excel in London on the 2nd October 2014.
All 22,000 black cabs are 100% accessible for wheelchairs users.
Many taxis also have colour contrast patches on seats and coloured grab rails, as well as an intercom and an induction loop.
All taxis and private hire vehicles must carry guide and other assistance dogs when requested.
At least 95% bus stops will be accessible by 2016 this includes ensuring they have a kerb high enough to meet the wheelchair ramp and for the step into the bus to be at a reasonable height for boarding. Street clutter will be removed from where the bus doors open.
There is a mobility lounge for disabled passengers to use with disabled facilities, air conditioned/heated lounge.
You can book assistance:
By calling the mobility lounge
020 7027 2520
The Congestion Charge in London is £10 per day (Monday-Friday). However if you are on the higher rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and a Blue badge holder, you can apply for an exemption from the congestion charge for a one off cost of £10 for 3 years. You can register up to 2 vehicles for this exemption.
Telephone Number: 0845 900 1234
The Dartford crossing is also free if you drive a motability vehicle just go to a manned booth.
Consider getting an Oyster card to get around in London; this can be topped up both at underground stations and online.
TFL Customer Service Number: 03430 22201234
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On a recent tour of the Docklands Light railway with TFL with my Electric go go buggy I found that the DLR is totality accessible the platforms are all level and all stations have lifts and the network now covers a large area from Stratford International down to Lewisham also the City of London from bank onto Woolwich Arsenal.
A passenger service agent is on board every train to provide assistance.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Customer Service number 0207363 9817/9818
London River Services
Have access for wheelchairs you may check before you travel as to your individual needs.
Wed: contact tfl.gov.uk/contact
Telephone: 0343 222 1234
TFL has secured an additional 75m fund to make travel across their network more accessible.
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The 30 Crossrail stations in London will also be step free.
TFL have produced a large range of brochures and maps on how to get around there network.
Transport for London
42-50 Victoria Street
London SW1H OTL
If you travel further afield and use the M6 toll road near Birmingham, then you can also obtain an M6 Toll pass. If you receive the higher rate of DLA and are a Blue Badge holder, check the information in your Blue Badge guide booklet.
A pass for the M6 Toll road costs £10 and is valid for 3 years.
M6 Toll road Number 0870 850 6262
You can now apply for a Disabled bus pass with West Sussex County Council for yourself and a companion you can download the form the link below or pick one up from your library.
West Sussex Bus Pass
P.O. Box 212
Tel: 0845 0751018
Give the airline at least 48hrs notice if you need assistance
You should be able to take your wheelchair to the aircraft
Check the airport you are flying from/to if you can do this on line
As a disabled person, you can travel with up two items of mobility equipment free of charge. This won’t count as part of your baggage allowance
If you drive a Motability vehicle you have to apply to the R.A.C. for a form VE103R (Vehicle on hire Certificate) this will give European Motoring Assistance and will cover your Insurance. Also take a copy of your RSA Certificate of motor Insurance. Check what is law that you need to carry in your Vehicle(spare bulb kit, warning triangle etc.)
Unique Insurance are specialist travel brokers who are recommended by Motability they will find the best cover for you and your family depending on your needs.
Tel: 0800 561 0146
The key to a more enjoyable and stress free journey is to plan your route in advance.
See our guide Blue Badge Made Simple and as a holder of a Blue badge there are benefits that can help you on travel costs and renewing you Blue Badge.
Author: Eddie Jezierski -Surveying & Transport for Arun Access Group