- Public transport is classed as fare paying services operated to a timetable with the exception of taxis which are hired per journey under licence conditions set by local, regional or unitary authorities. Included are bus and train services, timetable ferries, taxis and private hire vehicles.
- Mobility scooter users have concessions rather than rights to travel on public transport using their mobility scooter. Guidelines, rules and interpretation will vary between regions and localities.
- Mobility scooter, powered wheelchair or manual wheelchair users do not have priority over other passenger other than ‘company’ dedicated space which will also almost certainly be available for prams / pushchairs; under no circumstances are staff permitted to allow obstruction to gangways.
- The Confederation of Public Transport (CPT) has a voluntary code of practice for member bus operators aimed at regularising the carriage of mobility scooters on buses; these will necessarily be low floor buses. There are some anomalies regarding powered wheelchairs and users would need to check with their bus operator. The code does not apply to ordinary wheelchairs.
- For most operators even with a permit travel is permitted at the discretion of the drive; albeit drivers receive appropriate training there can be significant differences in policy implementation. A big factor will be the available dedicated space and passenger loading at the time of travel, also a driver my decline travel if they suspect the total weight exceeds that permitted on the ramps.
- In order to use low floor buses in a given area intending users will need a permit from the operating bus company; the permit addresses two main point, the size of the scooter and competency of the rider and for the latter should offer training covering the use of ramps, manoeuvring on a bus and all important safe parking whilst in transit. Different bus operators will have different criteria for the issue of permits, however broadly speaking if members of CPT, bus operators should accept a permit issued by another operator.
- Acceptable mobility scooters will not be longer than 1220mm, not wider than 700mm and not exceed maximum 300kg (including rider). In some cases permitted weight on bus ramps maybe considerably lower at around 200kg. All acceptable scooters will be class 2 category.
- Low floor buses have no internal steps and will be one of two types:
The first type, air suspension on the bus allows the driver to lower the bus to the same pavement level – often kerbs/pavements are raised at bus stops to allow this to happen provided the driver can parallel park just millimetres from the kerb edge; sometimes inappropriate parking by others prevent this from being possible.
The second type utilises a driver operated manual or electric ramp / lift. Whichever of these types a considerable amount of space to the side of the bus is required – the ramp will extend around 1 to 1.5 metres then further space is required for the scooter to turn 90 degrees to utilise the ramp.Clearly from the above there may be difficulties in town areas, but unquestionably so in rural areas, or where there are narrow or no footpaths. A further concern is that all buses on a route may not be of the low floor type, thus inaccessible to mobility scooters. Intending passengers should always check and satisfy themselves that both outward and return journeys are practical and allow for possible delay factors through wrong type of bus or lack of space on a bus.
- For the most part mobility scooter and both powered and manual wheelchair users should check with their train operator. Many stations do not have options other than stairs to switch between platforms. Pre booking of journeys may be required re ramp availability.
Taxi / Licensed Private Hire Vehicle Travel
This will be under local authority licensing regulations; check with authority or licensed operators.