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Top tips for travelling on public transport with a wheelchair

Thu May 06 2021

Four in five disabled people have felt anxious about using public transport, with nearly one in three choosing not to travel at all due to problems encountered.

The result?

Job opportunities are limited, access to services is reduced and social lives suffer.

Although the government continues to take steps to ensure transport is more accessible, the process can seem slow-moving.

As the hubbub of public transport returns with covid restrictions starting to ease, the prospect of getting on a bus, train, tube or taxi may be increasingly daunting.

So, to help you travel with confidence, we’ve put together key tips, information and advice that’s useful to know if you’re travelling on public transport with a wheelchair.

Travelling with a wheelchair by train

National Rail has a hub of information. Find out your train’s facilities, check station accessibility, contact the train company direct or find out what happens if things don't go to plan.

You can also use Passenger Assist which offers support with:

  • Navigating around the station

  • Getting on and off the train

  • Carrying luggage

Be sure to look into getting a Disabled Persons Railcard as it’ll get you and a friend a third off your trip.


When it comes to the London Underground, not all stations are accessible. Transport for London have put together a handy step-free tube guide that shows which stations are step-free, which have manual boarding ramps and how large the gaps are between the station and the platform.


Whether it’s using lifts, ramps or level access, all Tyne and Wear Metro stations are accessible. You can download the Metro Access Guide which covers key information about each station.


Plan each stage of your journey using Merseyrail’s assisted travel guide. We recommend using their accessibility map to find out which stations have step-free access, plus the size of the step between platform and train.

Travelling with a wheelchair by bus

Buses in most cities should have ramps and wheelchair spaces.

To check, visit the bus company’s website or give them a call. If you’re catching a First Bus, you can check the number of available wheelchair spaces in real-time with their app (other companies, take note).

Bus drivers are required to offer assistance, so don’t be afraid to ask.

And don’t miss your chance to save on cost with a disabled person’s bus pass.

Travelling with a wheelchair by taxi

To find accessible taxis in your area, you can contact your local council.

Licensed taxis in many larger cities must all be wheelchair accessible.

If the taxi is wheelchair accessible, drivers must enable you to travel in your wheelchair. Drivers are also required by law to help you in and out of the vehicle without running the meter, give you a hand with any luggage, including your wheelchair, and must not charge extra for your journey or luggage.

If you’ve got any questions, thoughts or additional transport tips you’d like to share, you can reach us on 0800 0258 005 or message us on Facebook and Twitter.