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Can your scooter go on public transport?

There is no legal requirement for transport companies to carry mobility scooters

Click here to go straight to information about train travel

Buses and coaches

Although the Public Service Vehicle Accessibility Regulations 2000 (PSVAR) says that single-decker buses should all be accessible by 2016, and double-deckers by 2017, there is no legal obligation for buses to carry mobility scooters.

There is, however, a Code which has been drawn up by the Department of Transport and the UK Confederation of Passenger Transport, setting out guidelines for bus operators to follow.

Class 2 scooters may be taken onto public transport, Class 3 cannot

Class 2 scooters are lightweight and designed for use on pavements. Class 3 scooters are classified as road-going vehicles; they are bigger and heavier, and not suitable for bus travel.

There are a few more restrictions:

• the scooter must be no more than 600mm wide and 1000mm long and have a turning circle of no more than 1200mm.

• the combined weight of the scooter and the rider must not exceed the safe working load of the ramp used to board the bus, which is normally 300kg.

 

Apply in advance for a permit to travel by bus

You can’t just turn up at a bus stop on a suitable Class 2 scooter, you need to apply in advance for a permit. This means approaching the bus operator, who will assess your ability to manoeuvre your scooter, and train you to use the access ramp and to move around inside the bus safely.

They will also advise about which routes and buses you can travel on (not all buses are currently accessible).

Once the company is happy that you can carry out the necessary moves safely and within a reasonable amount of time, they will provide a photo permit, which is the size of the credit card and has a time limit of no more than five years. If you have a permit from one operator, it should be accepted by any other bus company taking part in the scheme.

 

Rules for bus travel with a scooter

• Once on board, you should put your scooter in the designated wheelchair space, reversing up to the backrest.

• The motor must be turned off and the scooter parked in gear to avoid movement.

• You must stay on the scooter throughout the journey.

• If the wheelchair space is already occupied by a wheelchair, you won’t be able to travel on that bus.

• The bus company will only carry a scooter provided that it does not pose a danger to other passengers. This means that your scooter must be maintained in good working order; that it has not been customised in such a way that it becomes an obstruction; and that it isn’t overloaded with shopping or other luggage, making it unstable.

• If you cause damage to the bus or injury to another passenger, then the travel permit can be withdrawn.
 

These are companies who are part of the bus and coach scheme

Arriva
Blackpool Transport Services
Bluestar
Centrebus
Country Bus
Firstgroup
Ipswich Buses
Metrobus
National Express
Nottingham City Transport
Prentice Coaches
Quality Line
Reading Transport
Safeguard
Southern Vectis
Stagecoach
Thamesdown Transport
Transdev Blazefield
Transport for London (see below)
trentbarton
Wilts and Dorset
Yellow Buses
 

London buses operate on a different scheme

Transport for London (TfL) has a separate system – the Mobility Aid Recognition Scheme – which has its own card, and which covers powered wheelchairs and mobility walkers as well as scooters. The requirements are the same as for the CPT scheme, and TfL offers training as part of the permit application.

London bus drivers should accept permits from other bus companies in the CPT scheme.

How about costs?

We have contacted a number of the transport operators who subscribe to the scheme, and none of those we spoke to make a charge for the scooter permit.


 

Train travel with a mobility scooter

As with buses, it isn’t a good idea to simply arrive at a station, and assume that you can travel on a mobility scooter.

There are many operators on the rail network, and they have different rules about transporting scooters.

You should contact the relevant train company beforehand, to make sure that they can safely accommodate your scooter.

Bear in mind also that you need to confirm that any stations you plan to use provide step free access.

If you need assistance on your journey, let the company know at least 24 hours in advance.

Some of the main issues about scooter travel on a train involve weight: scooters tipping backwards on ramps, or being heavier than the ramp’s safe working load. The other consideration is manoeuvrability: whether or not the scooter is sufficiently compact to manoeuvre safely in the carriage.

Because of these potential problems, some companies’ trains are not able to carry passengers on scooters. In some cases, they will carry a scooter only if the user, or a travel companion, can carry it onto the train and stow it in the luggage storage area.

 

General scooter weight and size guidelines

As a very broad guide, where train companies are able to accommodate passengers on mobility scooters, the overall length and width limits tend to be 1200 mm (3′ 11″) and 700 mm (2′ 3″) respectively. A maximum combined weight (passenger and scooter) of 300 kg is standard.

 
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Further resources

To find out more about mobility scooters, both Class 2 and Class 3, please visit the Independent Living mobility section

We also have tips on travelling safely on your scooter

 
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15 Replies to “Can your scooter go on public transport?”

    AvatarStephen Rix says:

    How do I get a permit for my mobile 4 wheel scooter for the bus company finding this is very confused manly because of my CV stroke
    Regards Stephen Rix

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Stephen
    If your scooter is a class two (pavement) model, you can apply to the bus operator, who will assess your ability to manoeuvre your scooter, and train you to use the access ramp and to move around inside the bus safely.
    They will also advise about which routes and buses you can travel on (not all buses are currently accessible).
    Once the company is happy that you can carry out the necessary moves safely and within a reasonable amount of time, they will provide a photo permit, which is the size of the credit card and has a time limit of no more than five years. If you have a permit from one operator, it should be accepted by any other bus company taking part in the scheme.
    Best wishes,
    Frances

    AvatarSusan Johnson says:

    Which model make can be taken on all buses? Mobility scooter, the cheapest, give examples.

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Susan
    It isn’t really that straightforward, unfortunately. There isn’t a legal obligation for buses to take mobility scooters, though there is a Code which most operators follow, which includes some specifications for the scooter. It can’t be more than 600mm wide and 1000mm long, with a turning circle of no more than 1200mm. And the combined weight of the scooter and the rider must not exceed the safe working load of the ramp used to board the bus, which is normally 300kg.
    I came across one scooter that meets these requirements when someone else asked for information, the ST1 from Drive DeVilbiss, which is available from Manage At Home – https://www.manageathome.co.uk/pd/st1-scooter_12018 (external link will open in a new browser window) It is probably also available from other suppliers. The size restrictions are quite limiting, so you need to look around quite carefully to find suitable models.
    Good luck and best wishes,
    Frances

    AvatarCatherinr Anne Chedzoy says:

    I have a small mobility scooter and am trying to get a permit to travel by bus and train to be able to travel to my daughters and need train and bus to get to her. Can you help me get a permit to be able to travel.

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Catherine
    I can tell you what you need to do, in order to get a permit. You should get in touch with the bus company and train operator on the routes you want to travel, and explain your situation.
    If your scooter meets their size parameters, they will be able to guide you through their own procedures.
    Good luck and best wishes,
    Frances

    AvatarMrs Sandra Stowe says:

    What are the 86 models of mobility scooters allowed on buses as I can t find it anywhere and nobody seems to know as you can’t buy a scooter that is only 1000cms long they are not made only foldable only and you so t need to drive one of those on please help

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Sandra
    I have no idea how many models there might be, but I was asked about this by somebody else recently, and did a quick look around. Manage at Home have one that is 1000 mm long (not foldable) – you can read more about it here:
    https://www.manageathome.co.uk/pd/st1-scooter_12018 (external link will open in a new browser window)
    It is a good idea to contact your local bus company and get advice beforehand – they will arrange a simple assessment and issue a permit.
    Best wishes,
    Frances

    AvatarGeoff Boulton says:

    I am looking for a mobility scooter which I can take on local buses. Can anyone tell me which makes/models will be suitable.

    AvatarAmy says:

    Hi Geoff,

    Your best bet is to pop in to your local Care Co store as they have the full range of lightweight, road and car friendly mobility scooters. They can give you a full demo on how the scooters come apart and also which would be best suited to your needs, I hope this was of some help 🙂

    Avatarjohn ford says:

    Looking at the detailed terms and conditions by all regular rail and bus travel services it is obvious that no real design consideration has been given when trains and buses are being planned for all classes of passenger, and on a close historical review that has always been the case and the same design limitations are still pursued today. We see many cars, with some larger cars or people carrier, adapted to carry the larger scooter. Many disabled people are not permitted to drive a road vehicle under the Blue Badge scheme or any other, due to physical and or mental aberrations/ disease, epilepsy or say type 1 diabetes with a risk of a low blood sugar-induced coma, there will be others too. Many in this limited travel opportunity are being further penalised due to being DISABLED who are offered by the ABLED BODIED less than a second-best solution or nothing, no matter which way you which to look at this situation, with all the terms and conditions, red tape and procedural hurdles put in place to minimise the risk and inconvenience of accommodating disabled people travel needs AMOUNTS TO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE DISABLED, WHO ARE TREATED LIKE SECOND RATE CITIZENS, NOTHING MORE, AND IT IS NOT GOING TO CHANGE.

    Avatarfatima ali says:

    Can I take my lighweight scooter from London to Nottingham. My brother and I are trvelling please God in late January 2020 to a Concert. Plus he will book us Firsg Class so do I pay for my disabled scooter?

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Fatima
    The different train operators have different rules about carrying scooters, so you should get in touch with the one you are travelling with and find out.
    As a very broad guide, where train companies are able to accommodate passengers on mobility scooters, the overall length and width limits tend to be 1200 mm (3′ 11″) and 700 mm (2′ 3″) respectively. A maximum combined weight (passenger and scooter) of 300 kg is standard.
    Best wishes,
    Frances

    Avatardebbie holst says:

    i am a recent amputee and i have a class 3 mobility scooter i wish to travel from wolverhampton to berkhamsted in hertfordshire via milton keynes is this journey possible many thanks

    AvatarFrances says:

    Hello Debbie

    Unfortunately, according to the Code of Practice for public transport operators, class III scooters can’t be accommodated, as they are too big.

    If you have a class II scooter, you can apply in advance to your local bus company for a permit.

    Best wishes, Frances

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